Honda to Triple Supply of Civic Hybrids in the UK; London Congestion Charge Accelerating Demand for Hybrids
Honda is tripling the supply of its gasoline-electric Civic Hybrid in the UK to 3,000 during 2007 to meet projected demand resulting from the expansion of the London congestion charge zone. (Earlier post). SMMT (The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) figures show that from 2005 to 2006, the percentage of hybrid cars in London rose from 1.03% to 2%—or more than 1,100 cars.
Sales forecasts now predict there will be more than 6,500 additional hybrid cars on London’s roads by 2008, each taking advantage of the 100% discount from the congestion charge.
Honda’s sales figures confirm the regional growth, with a third of recent orders for its Hybrid coming from London and the South East—influenced largely by the impact of congestion charging on buying habits in and around the capital. Meanwhile, worldwide sales of Honda hybrids have reached more than 185,000.
Toyota also reported that sales of the Prius in London jumped up 135% in January 2007 from the year prior. (Earlier post.)
Hybrids are now mainstream cars. Global demand is increasing and across the world we are ramping up production to meet that interest. It’s true that more people want to drive ‘greener’ cars, but financial incentives such as congestion charge discounts and lower road tax are also playing their part.—John Kingston, Environment Manager at Honda (UK)
Last year, in the biggest hybrid fleet deal to date, the Metropolitan Police ordered 117 Civic Hybrids. Other companies running Honda hybrid cars include Innocent Drinks and Clearchannel.
Honda will also launch a concept hybrid sports car in March. Moving beyond the family saloons that make up much of the current hybrid market, the two-seater coupe demonstrates how hybrids can be sporty and stylish. (Earlier post.) Honda has also committed to producing a global, purpose-built hybrid car that will be smaller and cheaper than the Civic. This will go on sale in 2009. (Earlier post.)