Friday, May 29, 2009

Honda Jazz Hybrid To Hit The Road In 2010


THE TOYOTA PRIUS may be the iconic hybrid of the last decade, but Japan’s number two carmaker isn’t about to let that deter it.

With the 2010 Insight joining the Civic Hybrid in Honda’s global line-up (and expected here later next year), Honda is tackling Toyota’s head-start in the hybrid market front-on.

Now, Japan’s leading business paper Nikkei has reported that Honda is planning to launch a petrol-electric hybrid version of the popular Honda Jazz (sold as the Fit, internationally) by the end of 2010 – more than a year ahead of schedule.

With the Jazz already a frugal car, managing just 6.4 l/100km – excellent for a petrol-powered car – success will lie in the lower development and production cost of Honda’s hybrid systems compared to other manufacturers.

Honda Spokesperson Akemi Ando told Nikkei that the manufacturer does not yet have a specific launch date or price for the Jazz hybrid, but the newspaper estimates Honda’s diminutive hybrid will sell for around AU$20,000 in Japan.

With the production version of Honda’s CR-Z performance hybrid coupe expected to debut next year and, according to Nikkei, an all-new Civic hybrid due in 2012, the Jazz hybrid and the Insight will be in good company.

If Honda can ensure that its low-cost hybrid technology will keep the price down, and if its fuel economy offers a marked improvement on the regular petrol version, the Jazz hybrid could prove to be a real success in Australia’s small car segment.