New Honda President: “Our Theme is Hybrids”

Honda's new president Takanobu Ito

Takanobu Ito, president of Honda Motor Co., discussing the company’s hybrid strategy at a press conference.

Honda’s new president Takanobu Ito promised today to speed up production of hybrid cars. Ito said that Honda will offer a CR-Z hybrid in Japan in February 2010, followed by a hybrid version of the company’s best-selling compact, Honda Fit, before the end of 2010.

According to the Associated Press, Ito said hybrids are crucial to the future of the auto industry—and projected that nearly every model from every automaker will be offered as a hybrid over the next 20 years. “There are some issues left to overcome on battery and motor technology, so it won’t happen overnight,” Ito said, sitting next to a blue Insight in a Tokyo showroom. “Our theme is hybrids.”

The CR-Z hybrid will be sold in North America and Europe, but Ito did not provide a release date. The Honda Fit Hybrid will also be offered in North America. The company is focusing on hybrid versions of smaller cars, but is also developing a hybrid system suited to mid-size and large vehicles.

Honda has sold 38,700 units of its Insight—a four-door compact car with a US EPA mileage rating of 41 mpg—worldwide since it went on sale in February.

“Applying the hybrid system to smaller vehicles will help Honda boost sales,” said Yoshihiro Okumura, a funds manager at Tokyo-based Chiba-gin Asset Management Co. “Once the US market starts to pick up, they’ll be well-positioned,” Okumura told Bloomberg.

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  • Charles

    I hope that Honda can come up with a better IMA. The current 13 HP system is just not enough. Something is wrong with Honda’s hybrid system when Insight and Civic hybrids are beat by a Ford Fusion hybrid for city MPG.

  • moishe k

    Where is the minivan ????????????????

    Y r We Waiting !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Scott Z

    Well yes the focus is 1 mpg better in city then the Civic or Insight but both of them are better on highway and overall then the Focus.

    he big thing for me is repair record. Honda has a far superior record then Ford across the board. I am happy Ford has release the Focus. That should keep pressure on the market. Ford has made great strides in their reliability record. It’s nice to have choices. Now a hybrid minivan that gets at least 35 mpg will make me very happy.

  • Geo

    seems to me that adding a hybrid system to a compact car that already gets good mileage isn’t going to be big seller unless it significantly boosts mileage or performance or adds very little cost to the vehicle. I mean who really is going to pay an additional 2500+ dollars for a vehicle that gets an additional few mpg in the city?

  • FamilyGuy

    “…the hybrid system to smaller vehicles will help Honda…”, that’s great. I used to own an Accord and was dissappointed that the hybrid went into the six cylinder. The Civic and Insight, two smaller cars. How about something more geared to the family of four perhaps? There’s no way that I’m putting my Wife, two kids and all of the stuff for the holidays for a six hour ride in a Fit. Sigh.

  • Charles

    Scott, it is the hybrid Fusion, not Focus. The Fusion is a Camry size car. The Focus is Civic sized. 1 mpg better in the city for a much larger car is significant. When it comes to hybrids, I think Ford and Toyota have a far better system when compared to Honda or the mild hybrid GM cars. As for the quality of the Fusion, it is rated higher by Consumer Reports than the Accord or Camry (the Prius is best in its size class).

  • Samie

    I think you are right Family Guy in that two common types of hybrids should emerge soon the hatchback/compact-sedan hybrid & the midsized-full sedan hybrid (including small SUV’s & a minivan??) that appeals to conventional uses eg. transporting families. Not that it doesn’t now but as market share grows more Americans will see the differences in types of full hybrids. I hope that the Fusion Hybrid comes down in price but maybe Toyota, Honda, & Nissan will make more improvements to their mid-sized CVT vehicles while reducing costs, putting pressure on Ford to do the same. Also as I said & others where is the Focus Hybrid? Maybe Ford needs to improve on technology before that’s available but adding another 20-23k hybrid to the mix would be great for consumers & for the industry to keep making improvements through more competition.

    Has Honda missed the mark somewhat w/ the Insight & Civic hybrids? Some say yes but Honda is not one to quit or lay down & let Toyota dominate the hybrid market. Expect decent improvements to Honda’s hybrid system in the their next generation hybrids. Another question is how will the Insight be marketed if say a Honda Fit Hybrid made it to the U.S.? The market is still small where focusing on just a few hybrid models is still necessary but maybe that’s changing.

  • Mr. Fusion

    Dear Honda,

    Please make a hybrid pickup truck.

    Thank you.

  • Dom

    Dear Honda,

    Please don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Bring your clean diesel engines too!

    Thank you.

  • Luc

    “The Honda Fit Hybrid will also be offered in North America.”

    That’s not true. Honda officially said Monday that there are no plans for now to bring the Fit/Jazz Hybrid to US/Europe. See their press release. They may change their mind but seems unlikely at this point.

  • John K.

    They offer a Honda Civic Sedan Hybrid, but how about a Honda Civic Coupe Hybrid? Their Civic Coupe is one of the most attractive cars out there, IMO. It would be great for singles and couples w/o kids.

  • Honda Lover


    I am a really looking forward to the CRV coming out in a hybrid version. If and when can we expect it…Waiting Patiently to upgrade.

    Loyal Honda Owner

  • Rick S.

    Dear Honda Executives,

    I would like to see you develop and market in the U.S. a hybrid CR-V. I own a 2001 CR-V and am very satisfied with it. I live in snow country and love the way my CR-V handles in the snow, slush, and ice. Combine these capabilities with a hybrid system and I’d buy a hybrid CR-V tomorrow. I also own a 2007 Civic hybrid and am very satisfied with its performance, too, hence my desire for a hybrid CR-V. Toyota has the Highlander hybrid…can’t you make a CR-V or Pilot hybrid?

    Keep up the great work and great products!