Honda Will Produce Acura Hybrids

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito announced earlier this week that Acura will add a hybrid drivetrain to its models. Ito made the announcement at the Detroit auto show, during the unveiling of its new sporty compact Honda CR-Z hybrid model. He provided no further details.

In December 1999, Honda became the first car company to introduce a hybrid in the United States. It also was the first company to introduce a hybrid system in a conventional model, when it began selling the Honda Civic Hybrid in 2002. However, last year, it nearly lost the second place position in the hybrid market—behind Toyota—when the company failed to reach sales goals for the 2010 Honda Insight. Strong consumer interest in the award-winning 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid helped Ford come within a few thousand units of bypassing Honda in hybrid sales.

Honda is expected to attempt a comeback with hybrids. Ito said, “We will apply hybrid systems which are compact, lightweight and affordable to a wider range of products in the near future.”

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  • chiludo67

    If Honda wouldn’t lie and produce substandard MPG on their hybrid cars then their sales goals would be met. Real world 40 to 45 mpg for a hybrid compact is pathetic!

    Even more dissapointing is the upcoming Honda CR-Z hybrid that gets far less MPG than my 1990 CRX HF. With substandard MPG cars that can’t keep up with the Prius, Honda will continue to lose market share.

  • Charles

    Why people buy hybrids, and why Honda does not get it.

    There are many reasons to buy a hybrid.

    1) You may believe in global warming and want to do your part to save the human race.
    2) You may be patriotic and want to save your country from being dependent on foreign countries for your energy needs.
    3) You may think that gas prices are going to $4.00 or higher, and do not want to be caught with a dinosaur of a vehicle.
    4) Or it could be that you like trendy cars.

    No mater the reason, except for number 4, there are only a few hybrids that make sense to buy.

    The Prius makes it on all four points. It has the best MPG. The Prius is only beat on price by the Honda Insight and Civic, and then just buy a small bit. Consumer Reports hates the Insight and can you even find a hybrid Civic anymore.

    The Ford Fusion and its twin the Mercury Milan have high marks for points 1, 2 and 3. The Fusion gets the best MPG of any midsize sedan. According to Consumer Reports the quality is great. According to almost every review the Fusion is fun to drive and handles much better than the Camry or Altima hybrids. The Fusion even beats the city MPG of the Honda Insight.

    The Escape and Mariner twins are the best MPG SUVs on the road today. If you need the ground clearance or four wheel drive, these are the way to go. Again the Fords get high marks for quality from Consumer Reports.

    I am not sure why anybody buys a large truck/SUV hybrid. If you need to tow something, rent a truck the few times a year you really need a truck and drive one of the above the rest of the time.

    There are a few holes in the hybrid lineup. A small really high MPG hybrid would be nice. Say a Ford Fiesta or Honda Insight at 60 MPG. A mini-minivan like the Mazda 5 around 40 MPG. And a full size minivan around 33 MPG. A Ford Transit Connect hybrid is high on my personal list, but I think I may well be an outlier.

    Honda just does not offer any top of the class hybrids. The only time Honda has been at the top was in 1999 before the first Prius made it to the USA. The Accord hybrid did not make it because it was a poor MPG car, not because it did not look like a hybrid.

    BTW can anybody tell me why you would buy a Camry or Altma Hybrid when they can buy a Fusion or Milan hybrid that is so much better?

    -moderator: edited last line for clarity

  • Mick J Rogers

    The articleis incorrect about the first hybrid; it was the 1999 Honda Insight.

    Honda’s hybrids are great if you do predominantly highway driving, Toyota/Fords are great if you are mostly a city driver. I love my 2003 Honda Insight and still get 68 mpg on the highway — as advertised.

  • Peter

    Why buy a Ford Fusion Hybrid?

    With MSRP 27,625, it is over $5,200 more expensive than Prius II.
    Ford Fusion Hybrid with EPA rating 41/36, compared with Prius (EPA 51/49), it consumes about 28% more fuel.
    If you want to save fuel and save the world, get a Prius;
    if you don’t want a Prius, you can always bike, roller skate, cross country ski, jogging,… (you know you have alternatives)
    if you want sporty drive and must have a Ford sedan, buy a Fusion I4 SE and save about $6,700 difference. It’s enough to cover an additional 58,000 miles @$3.00 gas (combined EPA est. 26 mpg for I4).

    Why buy an Escape / Mariner hybrid?
    Because you want the Fed. tax rebate (sadly it’s only $750 from Oct 1 2009 and is going to phase out from Apr 1 2010);
    because you don’t mind buying a SUV that first debuted in 2000 (should warrant some good discount, I think);
    because you don’t mind real life fuel economy of something like 26 mog;
    because you are a NYC cab owner;
    because your last name is Ford and your family owns a lot of FMC shares.

  • Chares

    Peter, I agree that if the Prius works for you, then it is by far and away the best car.

    If a mid size sedan is what works for you why would you buy a Camry or Altma and not the Fusion or Milan?

    A Mazda 5 type car is the best fit for my life style. My significant other has a gen 2 Prius, so something that can haul our stuff around would be nice. I hope to hold out for a new car until a hybrid fits my life style.

    As for the hybrid vs non-hybrid Fusion. I keep cars for about 150,000 miles. At $3.00 a gallon the break even point (using EPA combined 39 and 25 for the Fusions) is 155,512 miles. Over the next six years I think $4.5 is a better guess. This would move break even to only 103690 miles. The $6,700 also buys a lot of options. The time value of money would move the figures toward the I4 Fusion. The hybrid Fusion is not a no brainer, but it is not a bad deal. It all depends on the price of gas.

  • G Money

    I would have bought a Prius, but all of the dealers I went to wanted MSRP and a couple wanted $3,000 above and beyond that.

    I ended up buying an Insight and saved almost $7,000 over the Prius and $9,000+ over a Ford Fusion Hybrid.

    I’m happy. I get a good 6 to 11 days between fillups and paid under $23,000 OUT THE DOOR with all taxes and fees. The Toyota dealer laughed me out the door when I tried to get anything remotely close on the Prius.

    On the highway I am getting up to 55 MPG with the Insight. In nasty stop and go traffic I am getting about 40 to 41 MPG.

    If I put my foot in it and drive as bad as I used to, then I get about 43-45 MPG on the highway. At 70 MPH on the interstate I get about 49 MPG with the Insight. At 55 MPH I get 55 MPG with the cruise control on. 55 MPG is about the max I have been able to squeak out of this car. Maybe after it breaks in more and I put Amsoil in it, it may get a couple more MPG.

    Believe me, I wanted a Prius or Fusion Hybrid bad. I just couldn’t see spending all of that extra money when my brother’s 2007 Prius only gets 47 MPG on the highway. It was also a lot easier to modify my Insight to put an aftermarket Alpine radio, speakers, amp and more. I wouldn’t dare do that with a Prius. The Prius radio has too much stuff built into the radio. God forbid that thing break out of warranty and you’ll be paying THOUSANDS to replace it.

    Look at and check the mileage people are getting with the Insight. It’s a hell of a lot more than the EPA ratings for most people. Some people are getting up to 60 MPG with the 2010 Insight.

  • alancamp

    I think Ford is going in the right direction. Nice and Normal looking global cars that come in gasoline/hybrid or EV. This will help them bring down development and production costs, and make it easier to offer those improvements across their product line.

    Honda seemed stuck in the old GM mindset, that they know what’s best for the consumer. There was really no need to develop a new Insight, when they already had the Civic Hybrid which is about the same size, same price, and offers about the same efficiency.

    The new CRX/Z may have a better chance since it’s not directly competing against the Prius 4-door.

    But now it seems they may see logic by following Ford’s lead. The world is really not looking for ’boutique’ hybrid cars.

  • Used Cars Los Angeles

    I dont think honda has much of an option. Most manufacturers are in the Green Tech rat race, with Lexus pulling ahead in the luxury market. Honda vs Toyota has always been a hyper competitive rivalry, so this doesnt shock me.

  • Nelson Lu

    The complaints that the Fusion Hybrid gets less mileage than the Prius, while based on true facts, miss the point: they’re not comparable cars. The Fusion has considerably greater passenger space, has a much better ride, has much, much greater power, has a trunk, and, I dare say, is simply a better car. If you don’t care about any of those things, fine, get a Prius.

    And there goes the problem with the Insight; where as there are a lot of things that the Fusion does better than the Prius, there is nothing that the Insight does better than the Prius on.

  • G Money

    Even though I bought the 2010 Insight, maybe one day I will buy a Ford Fusion Hybrid if they ever decide to lower the price. I just can’t see spending $30,000+ for a car. The whole idea is to save money, not spend it.

    I’d be better off spending $18,000 on a car that gets 30 MPG vs. $30,000 on a car that gets 41 MPG.

    The car makers all need to focus on building $15,000 hybrid cars. That would make sense to frugal people. I bought my Insight because I remember paying $50 to fill up my Saturn Ion that I had in the past and it made me sick to pay $50 bucks to barely drive 275-300 miles. If gas prices rose again to when I was paying up to $4.25/gallon where I lived, with the Insight I’d be spending $35-38 to drive 400-450 miles. My cars always get horrible gas mileage in the bad city stop and go traffic. I’m rarely on the highway, so all of these cars talking about big highway numbers means nothing to me. Lots of GM cars advertise 30-33 MPG. I would never experience that with my driving. Both of my cars gas mileage dropped almost 50% when I moved from the country to the city. I was getting over 30 MPG in both vehicles in the country and then they both dropped to 16-18 MPG. I got tired of having to fill the tank every 2 to 4 days and that’s why I bought the Insight. It fit the bill for the money. The Prius or Fusion Hybrid would have fit the bill just as nicely, but both of them would give me $150-300/mo. higher payments than I’m paying now.

    And with the economy and unemployment being as bad as it is, I am amazed at the people who are going into massive debt for such expensive cars. That seems very foolish. Just because you have a good paying job today doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have it tomorrow. In December 2009, look how 80,000+ people got the pink slip. That’s just plain scary.

  • Nelson Lu

    G Money, money is not the only thing to consider in the equation. I drive a 85-mile-each-way commute that includes a mountain pass with high elevation and usually high winds. I’m not going to drive a car that I don’t feel safe or comfortable in. I don’t feel safe driving the Insight on that commute, and I only feel marginally safer driving the Prius. And neither comes close to the Fusion in comfort.

  • E

    I feel perfectly safe driving my 2010 Insight.

  • Anon Imus

    What kind of mileage does a city bus get? What’s the optimal way to express it, to best illustrate the benefits of mass transit? Are there any hybrid vehicles used in mass transit?

  • Nelson Lu

    The local transit agency of the county where I work (San Joaquin County, CA) uses diesel hybrid busses. I have no idea what kind of mileage they get, though. The local transit agency of the county where I live has a large number of hybrids (mostly Priora) in its paratransit fleet.

  • G Money

    I feel perfectly safe driving my Insight. I can take exit ramps at high speeds. The car handles a lot better than I thought after seeing many of the negative reviews.

    It’s all about money. I don’t want $600-700/mo. payments on a car. The majority of the people in this country make about $40k/yr. The last thing anyone wants is 25-30% of their monthly income tied up in a car payment, gas and insurance.

    Like I said, I would have bought a Fusion if it wasn’t some crazy $30,000+. When I went to the Ford dealer to even test drive one, they didn’t have a single one on the lot. They told me that they have them pre-sold. I guess that’s to all of the people who like blowing their money rather than investing it.

    A car is just to get from A to B. I can carry 4 people, groceries and lots of other things exactly the same as a Fusion can. 95% of the time it’s just me driving by myself, as it is for most people. Nobody needs to carry 3500 lbs of metal just to get back and forth to work. Lots of people have Insights and are happy with them. I can take the same path you do to work every single day and not have any problems.

    Maybe you make $60-150k/yr and a Fusion is fine for you. But for the rest of us poor folks or people who don’t want to squander their money foolishly, an Insight does just fine.

    Just because you have the money doesn’t mean you need to spend it all. With the stock market in the tank, now is the time to be investing to take advantage of these bad times. The more money you spend on a car, the less money you’ll have to invest. The car is just a depreciating asset. It’s foolish to spend a lot of money it as you’ll be lucky to get 50% of what you paid in 3 years if you go to trade in. I plan on getting my money’s worth out of this car and keep it for 10-15 years.

    That $10,000 you save on an Insight over a Fusion can be invested for 20 years and be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars later in for retirement.

  • gojira

    It’s a shame that it took Honda/Acura so long … I know they were playing w/ diesels 1st but still …

  • dot

    i think acura has to catch up with lexus, now that lexus came out with CT hybrid not only it’s luxurious but affordable.