Honda not finished with Fit

Honda Motor Co. will produce a large family of vehicles based on the platform of its new Fit subcompact, known as the Jazz in Europe, to go head to head with the models spawned from Toyota Motor Corp.'s Vitz platform.

Honda will have "at least as many" models from the Fit platform as Toyota has from its Vitz platform, said Takeo Fukui, Honda senior managing director and president of Honda R&D Co.

Fukui, who was interviewed at the Tokyo Motor Show, started to count off the new models on his fingers and soon indicated he couldn't remember them all.

Next up is a small minivan, displayed at the show as the S-U-U concept, which will come to market in Japan in December.

From the platform of the Vitz, known as the Yaris in Europe and the Echo in North America, Toyota has developed the FunCargo compact van, the Verso wagon, the bB boxy tall wagon, and the WiLL Vi, WiLL VS, and soon-to-be-launched WiLL VC.

"There are many we are thinking of, and r&d has prepared many possible models. Now it is up to our president to decide" which ones he wants next, Fukui said.

He said Honda did not design just the Fit and then think of other models it could develop from that platform. Rather, he said, Honda started with many body variations based on the platform.

Then, based on Honda's analysis of Japanese market demand, the company decided to launch the five-door Fit version ahead of the three-door, four-door and sporty versions.

You can reach James B. Treece at jtreece@crain.com

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