Japan’s third-largest carmaker wants to remind us all that hybrid means more than Prius as it began last month selling the new version of its Fit (Jazz) compact at home, including a hybrid designed to take on Toyota’s global dominance in sales of fuel-efficient cars.
Honda says the Fit hybrid gives better mileage and costs less than the Toyota Aqua, a smaller take on the Prius that’s known as the Prius c worldwide. In the first four weeks, sales and advance orders for the new Fit (also known as Jazz) reached 62,000 units – four times Honda’s forecast, with about 70% of them hybrids.
Still, as Japan Automobile Dealers Association data shows, Toyota sold 182,135 Aquas (Prius c) in the first eight months of this year, more than double the shipments of the Fit, with the older Honda model on sale most of that time.
Since introducing its first hybrid in 1999, two years after Toyota’s Prius went on sale in Japan, Tokyo-based Honda has struggled to catch up. While Honda was first to the U.S. with its Insight hybrid, Toyota’s second-generation Prius became the car that captured Americans’ imagination.
Honda sold 231,440 hybrids worldwide last year, compared with Toyota’s 1.2 million. Toyota’s Prius and Aqua are Japan’s two best-selling models, followed by Fit.
The reason for Honda’s falling behind could be due to its simpler, smaller system to drive its cars that used a combination of electric and gasoline power at all times, while Toyota developed hybrid technology that let cars alternate between battery power and a gasoline-burning engine, which increased fuel efficiency.
) - Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 - filed under Honda
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