Honda Motor Co. made quite a surprising announcement last year when it said it would begin shipping Chinese assembled cars to Canada to help bolster its U.S. and Canadian production.
Growing its manufacturing presence in China is only one aspect for Honda’s plans for the world’s single largest auto market. Another calls for the proliferation of models to Chinese consumers.
And among them, are no fewer than three new mild hybrids. The Fit Hybrid, Insight and CR-Z are the vehicles in question, all equipped with Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist.
Unlike a full two-motor hybrid system IMA provides electric assistance to the gasoline engine, rather than enabling the vehicle to travel under electric power alone.
That said, Honda has been working on a true two-motor hybrid system which is expected to make its debut in the next generation Accord and other larger cars, including the Acura RLX flagship – revealed as a concept at this year’s New York International Auto Show – and NSX supercar.
Honda’s new two-motor system forms part of what it calls “Earth Dreams Technology” essentially a new range of powertrains expected to be widely available by 2015, by which time the company says it will have introduced 10 new or significantly changed models in China.
Besides introducing hybrids to the Chinese market, Honda is planning to produce gas/electric models locally too and has been looking at sourcing motors and battery systems within China to help reduce costs and make the cars more marketable.
With companies such as BYD (Build Your Dreams), already possessing extensive experience in battery technology in China, Honda’s local procurement strategy as it relates to hybrid components, certainly seems to be a logical one at this juncture.