The Nikkei reports that Honda will release the hybrid version of its Fit subcompact in Japan in fall 2010, about 18 months ahead of the earlier schedule.
The company had initially planned to introduce the hybrid Fit in 2012, when the vehicle will be fully remodeled. Instead, it opted to develop the hybrid version based on the current subcompact and roll it out sooner to tap the anticipated market expansion.
The hybrid Fit is to be equipped with a 1.3-liter gasoline engine and the same type of hybrid system found in the Insight hybrid. It is expected to deliver a fuel mileage of more than 30km per liter [3.33 L/100km, 71 mpg US] which is similar to what the Insight hybrid offers.
Honda reportedly will sell the Fit hybrid for less than the Insight, and expects annual sales of more than 50,000 units.
The Nikkei also noted that Toyota will begin sales of two new hybrid models in Japan by the end of the year: the Lexus HS250h and the SAI, and plans to introduce a hybrid car that is smaller than the Prius hybrid in 2011.
In addition, Nissan will enter the Japan hybrid vehicle market with the hybrid version of its Fuga luxury sedan to be introduced next year.