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Honda to show off hybrid sports car, fuel cell vehicles

Can Honda bounce back in hybrids?

Honda, which has stumbled in hybrids compared with rival Toyota, will try to regain its footing later this month when it shows off a hybrid sports car at the Tokyo Auto Show.

The CR-Z Honda

The CR-Z, which stands for Concept Renaissance Zero, is a lightweight sports car based on a hybrid system developed by Honda. The company will also display the Puyo, a fuel cell car designed as an economy car. Economy car and hydrogen are now kind of a misnomer. Hydrogen cars cost about $1 million to make at the moment. Still, in a decade or two, hydrogen proponents say the cars will be realistic and much cheaper.

Both of these are concepts. In the near term, Honda will also start to sell a new version of the Fit in Japan and a car called the Inspire, which sports variable cylinder management for better gas mileage. Rumors have been flying about a hybrid version of the Fit so this might be it. Honda may also display a clean diesel that gets over 60 miles a gallon. It plans to bring the car to the U.S. in 2010.

Honda's theme for the show is "for the endless joy of mobility on our earth." I love translations of marketing materials.

The Tokyo Auto Show, which actually takes place in nearby Chiba, kicks off October 27 and is one of the big shows in the car world. At the show, Nissan will also show off the Pivo 2, a car with a pivoting cockpit. Nissan will also discuss some of the safety features and its plans for electric cars. (At Ceatec last week, we conducted some interviews with Nissan execs about the safety features and Nissan's plans to mass produce an electric car in about four years.).