TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.--Honda Motor will launch a five-door, hybrid-only car in April in North America to do battle with the hot-selling Toyota Prius.
The five-passenger hatchback will be priced below the Prius, Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda Motor, said here at the Management Briefing Seminars last week.
Honda expects to build about 200,000 of the hatchbacks globally, with about 100,000 targeted for import into North America, he said.
Honda has no plans to build hybrids, including the Civic Hybrid sedan, in the United States, Colliver said.
He said the new hatchback will be slightly smaller and lighter than the Civic Hybrid and priced lower than the Civic and Prius. The Civic Hybrid's base price is $22,600, and the Prius starts at $21,500. Both prices include shipping.
"For consumers who are interested in fuel economy and the environment, having a specific individual product is important to them," Colliver said.
He said Honda's decision not to stray from its emphasis on small, fuel-efficient cars is bearing fruit in the era of $4-a-gallon gasoline. American Honda is the only major automaker whose vehicle sales are up through July, increasing 3.2 percent.
"Fuel efficiency is one of our core values," Colliver said. "Small, efficient vehicles are not short-term strategies for Honda. They are part of a fundamental commitment that goes back to Honda's entry into the auto industry in the 1970s."
(Source: Automotive News)