Honda Fit Hybrid To be Cheapest in Japan

If Honda’s pricing strategy for introducing the Honda Fit Hybrid in Japan is any indication, then the compact gas-electric car soon will be America’s most affordable hybrid.

The Tokyo Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun newspapers this week reported that Honda plans to sell the Fit Hybrid for about $18,600. That’s approximately $3,500 less than the Honda Insight, currently the cheapest hybrid, and about $4,600 more than the gas-powered Fit. Pricing for the Japanese market does not move in sync with U.S. pricing—but a similar strategy in the U.S. would put the base MSRP around $17,000. The Honda Fit Hybrid is expected in 2011. Honda will launch the Fit Hybrid at the Paris Auto Show this fall.

Japanese subsidies for fuel-efficient cars have helped make the Toyota Prius the top-selling car for the past 15 months. Some of the subsidies are scheduled to end next month, a move forcing hybrid makers to more aggressively compete on price.

In the U.S., the cost premium for hybrids has been a critical obstacle for moving hybrids into the mainstream. Hybrids represent approximately 2.5 percent of the new car market. Honda attempted to market the redesigned Honda Insight hybrid as an affordable “hybrid for the masses,” but the Prius-look-alike is only slightly cheaper than the Prius, while offering less room and lower mpg. The Honda CR-Z hybrid coupe, which goes on sale this fall, similarly falls short on its promise to combine fuel economy and sportiness at a competitive price.

Perhaps the Honda Fit Hybrid, if offered around $17,000 with fuel economy in the mid-40-mpg range, could be the right formula. The Honda Fit, sold as the Jazz in other market, is consistently praised for offering “loads” of passenger and cargo room in a small package. See the video below for how Honda Australia used humor to advertise the Fit’s impressive interior space.

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  • Yegor

    Everyone so much in plug-ins in our days that there is no comments on this one 🙂

    Nevertheless, it is a great news! Honda Fit although looks very small on outside is very roomy inside – Passenger Volume (90.8 cu ft) is much bigger than in Honda Insight (85 cu ft) and is very close to Prius (93.7 cu ft). Although Honda Fit cargo space probably will be significantly smaller than Prius.
    Thus Honda Fit Hybrid will be much closer to Prius in size than Insight but significantly less expansive ($17,000 vs $22,800).
    I think that it should be able to have significant sales volume – like 10,000 per month in USA.

  • Lori

    The problem with plug-ins is that a lot of people (like me) live in apartments. We can’t just run extension cords out into the parking lot to charge up our cars. Gas-electric hybrids are the only practical way to go.

  • JamesDavis

    Yelp, that little clip certainly proved my point – any car that is not a total fossil fuel vehicle and affordable to the common mass looks like it belongs in a circus with clowns crawling out of it. Did you see those two clowns standing beside the Fit, that is everything but fit and attractive? If there is anything that can discourage you from buying a car, it’s ugliness.

    What is it going to be – about 50 years before they start building electric cars that are attractive enough where a person would actually want to but one?

  • Old Man Crowder

    I rarely like to agree with JamesDavis, but in this instance I must.

    That commercial totally turned me off the Jazz/Fit. Reminds me of the old Ford Festiva commercials where the hatchback went up and down in super-fast motion. Made it look like the car was laughing at itself.

    Or maybe I’m just feeling a little inadequate, thanks to the bodybuilders.

  • Samie

    Loosen up, have a protein shake.
    Not everyone lives in California nor can everyone afford a Prius. Affordable entry level hybrid should be welcomed by all.

  • leo_21

    Nice Car..

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