Bloomberg. Honda said it will cut the extra cost of hybrid powertrains on the Civic (earlier post) by a third within 5 years and possibly will begin to phase out the gasoline-powered version in some markets, including Japan.
The additional cost of a Civic’s hybrid powertrain will fall by a third to ¥200,000 yen ($1,702) each, as development costs are halved, President Takeo Fukui told Bloomberg in an interview. The Civic Hybrid has a four-month waiting list in Japan.
Once we are able to cut costs and lower the premium price of the hybrids, there is a possibility that in some markets like Japan, we will only sell Civic Hybrids and no more gasoline-powered Civics. We plan to install diesels in bigger models and hybrids in smaller models.—President Takeo Fukui
Honda may put diesel engines in light trucks in North America, where it sells about 49% of its vehicles, according to Fukui. Last month, Nissan indicated it may put diesel engines in US pickup trucks and SUVs to cut emissions and address market concerns about fuel economy. (Earlier post.)
Honda may have to expand its factories in East Liberty, Ohio, and Alliston, Canada, to meet growing demand for its Civic and Fit compact cars. The Ohio factory is now running at full capacity and the automaker imports Japan-made Civics to fulfill US demand.
Honda begins sales of the compact Fit in the US in 2006, and expects monthly sales of 4,000 to 5,000 units in the first 12 months.