Honda CEO Says It’s Ready to Take a Huge Leap in Green Car Sales

Honda says it’s planning to skyrocket up from low-volume hybrid sales today to more than two-thirds of U.S. volume coming from green cars by 2030.

CEO Takahiro Hachigo said that by 2030, he wants more than two-thirds of U.S. Honda and Acura volume to come from green cars such as traditional hybrids, plug-ins, fuel cell vehicles and EVs, as reported in Automotive News. That would translate to more than one million electrified vehicles a year sold by American Honda Motor Co., based on its present volume.

That will be a huge leap. American Honda sold only 2,329 hybrid vehicles in the U.S. in the first half of the year.

Honda was known for beating Toyota in bringing the first hybrid to the U.S. with the Insight two-seater in 1999. Now, the company has only four electrified models: Honda Accord Hybrid, Acura RLX sedan, Acura NSX sports car, and the remaining stock of the soon-to-be discontinued CR-Z hybrid hatchback. Small volume sale has also caused Honda to drop the Civic, Insight, and CR-Z hybrids.

Honda has brought the Accord plug-in hybrid and Fit electric car to the U.S. market, but sales numbers have been slight.

An Acura MDX hybrid crossover is expected to arrive soon. The 2017 Accord Hybrid, as seen in the photo above, will “start Honda’s electric push,” according to Automotive News.

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While the company’s worldwide vision for 2030 had been announced in February, Honda expects the U.S. to play an important role in accomplishing that goal. In an interview with Automotive News this month, Hachigo said U.S. penetration should far exceed that global two-thirds. Increasingly stringent emissions standards require it, he said.

“For the U.S. as well, we will be deploying plug-ins as the core and bringing in other electrified technology,” Hachigo said. “The ratio will be far higher in the U.S.”

Plug-in hybrids will be part of meeting those emissions standards. The U.S. rollout begins with a new plug-in hybrid sedan arriving in 2017, Haching said. It is expected to be part of a trio of Clarity green cars starting with the hydrogen fuel cell sedan and an all-electric Clarity.

A hybrid Civic and possibly a hybrid CR-V crossover are also likely to arrive by the end of the decade, according to Automotive News.

Some analysts question whether Honda can achieve this goal. One analyst questions whether Honda dealers will support the campaign.

“The stumbling block for them is their dealers told them they don’t want them,” Christopher Richter, an auto analyst at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, said about U.S. demand for hybrid vehicles. “Unless there’s a change in what dealers want, I don’t think they are going to get there that fast.”

Automotive News