|The just-introduced non-hybrid 2007 US Fit.|
Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that Honda Motor plans to start selling a hybrid version of its Fit subcompact worldwide as early as fiscal 2007 (April 2006 to April 2007). Honda said, however, that it has yet to come to a decision on a new hybrid.
The report said that Honda planned to add the hybrid model when the Fit (earlier post) is due for full remodeling. The current Fit series consists of models with engine displacements ranging between 1.3 and 1.5 liters. For the hybrid version, Honda reportedly is developing a 1-liter-class engine.
Launched in 2001, global sales of the Fit subcompact totaled 390,000 units in 2005, the third-highest tally among Honda vehicles, following the Accord’s 680,000 units and the Civic’s 590,000.
The report says that Honda is targeting fuel economy for the Fit hybrid comparable to the Insight and the Toyota Prius—between 55 mpg US (Prius) and 63 mpg US (Insight).
The Fit hybrid stands to become the first hybrid to be priced at less than ¥2 million (US$16,900), as Honda apparently aims to sell it for around ¥1.4 million yen (US@11,800), about ¥200,000 (US$1,685) more than the conventional Fit.
Toyota’s hybrids cost about ¥500,000 (US$4,200) higher than the gasoline-powered vehicles on which they are based. Honda wants to cut that price difference beween conventional and hybrid vehicles more than in half by developing a smaller motor and battery for the hybrid powertrain without sacrificing capability.
Honda just introduced the conventional version of the Fit to the US market in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.