Honda To Reveal New Hybrid Next Month

Honda Motor Co. (NYSE: HMC) will reveal a concept version of its new small hybrid vehicle, to be named Insight, at the 2008 Paris International Auto Show, October 2, the company announced today.

The new Insight Concept shares styling cues with the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle and will provide an early look at the highly-anticipated five-passenger hybrid vehicle.

Going on sale in the U.S. next spring, the Insight will come to market at a price significantly below hybrids available today, Honda said.

"The original Honda Insight pioneered hybrid technology in the U.S. and remains a symbol of Honda’s commitment to innovative technology and fuel efficiency," said Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO. "This new Insight will break new ground as an affordable hybrid within the reach of customers who want great fuel economy and great value."

In creating a hybrid-only vehicle, Honda is attempting to make up ground on rival Toyota’s (NYSE: TM) Prius, which is popular with customers, because it is obvious at first glance that the vehicle is a hybrid. Honda’s hybrid model Civic does not have the same recognition quality.

Honda sad the Insight’s five-door access and folding rear seats are designed to meet the needs of customers with an active lifestyle.

Honda also said it has achieved a significant cost reduction in hybrid technology, which should make Insight the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date.

Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded hybrid vehicle production line at the Suzuka factory in Japan.

The Insight is expected to have annual global sales of 200,000 units per year — approximately 100,000 in North America. Following the launch of the new Insight, Honda also plans to introduce another unique sporty hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

The original Honda Insight was introduced in December 1999 as America’s first gas-electric hybrid car. It was the first vehicle to break the 70-mpg fuel economy barrier.

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