HONG KONG – Honda Motor is racing against its largest rival, Toyota Motor, to develop hybrid cars. Last week, Honda Motor's President Takeo Fukui, in delivering the company's midterm speech, threw down the gauntlet to Toyota, seeking to mount a serious challenge in the hybrid cars segment, according to www.forbes.com.
Fukui announced a lineup of four models, including Honda's sole current hybrid in production, the Civic Hybrid; a new hybrid-only model yet to be named, which will be a five-door, five-passenger compact with an exterior design similar to its new fuel cell vehicle concept, the FCX Clarity; a hybrid sports car version of its CR-Z line; and a new hybrid model for its Fit compact cars, sold as the Jazz in Europe.
Fukui said the new five-passenger hybrid compact will go on sale in Japan, North America, and Europe in early 2009, with expected annual global sales of 200,000 units. Honda is aiming to achieve annual sales for all four models of about half of a million units some time beyond 2010. Fukui said that the new hybrid strategy is to achieve full-scale market penetration.