Honda: Dealerships will have Fits more than a month early

The 2009 Fit arrives in dealerships this week.
Dealers will get the redesigned Honda Fit subcompact more than a month sooner than planned, a Honda Motor Co. spokesman said.

The 2009 Fit will arrive in dealerships Tuesday, Aug. 26. Honda's earlier plans were for the updated Fit to arrive in October.

"We basically increased supply as much as we could to meet demand, and we were still going to be sold out of the 2008 model," spokesman Chris Martin said. "We had to do something so that our dealers would not be without the small cars that buyers are seeking."

In the first seven months of the year, Fit sales in the United States rose 72.9 percent to 52,053 units. In July alone, Honda sold 12,266 Fits, up 93.4 percent.

In June, Honda said it would boost output of the Fit to meet soaring demand. At that time, the automaker planned to increase its U.S. allotment to 80,000 units from 60,000.

Honda is now projecting annual demand of 85,000 units for the Fit, Martin said. The automaker plans to allot between 80,000 and 90,000 units of the 2009 model for the United States.

Honda has five plants making the vehicle, but its Suzuka, Japan, factory is the only one shipping Fits to the United States. Martin said Honda has the option of increasing Fit production at the Suzuka plant if U.S. demand for the Fit continues to rise.

The base sticker of the 2009 Fit, including destination, will be $15,220. Honda raised the price on the new model by $600 from the 2008 model. The Fit will get up to 35 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in the city. 

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