Honda plans Fit-based subcompact crossover for U.S.
Photo credit: HONDA
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DETROIT -- Honda says it will be the first automaker to sell a subcompact crossover in the United States when its Fit-based vehicle arrives early next year. A concept version of the vehicle was unveiled at the auto show here.
At 169.3 inches long, Honda's Urban SUV Concept is nine inches shorter than the Honda CR-V. Honda expects the vehicle to sell well in urban markets.
The crossover most likely will use a 1.5-liter inline-four with an estimated 127 hp and 111 pounds-feet of torque. The engine is shared with the next-generation Fit. The interior will include Honda's configurable fold-flat Magic Seat setup in the second row of seats.
The crossover will follow the redesigned Fit in the U.S. introduction cycle. The Fit will go on sale in early 2014, with the crossover arriving later in 2014, said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president. Both vehicles will be built at Honda’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico.
Honda Motor CEO Takanobu Ito called the Fit and its platform-sharing crossover “a key for our continued global growth.”
For the year ending March 31, Honda expects to sell 4 million units globally. By March 2017, Honda wants to have increased that to 6 million units, the lion’s share coming from the new small car platform, Ito said.
The crossover is a key to Honda's global growth strategy. Sales of the Fit and its platform derivatives are expected to double to 1.5 million units by 2016.
Mendel is optimistic that the Fit will exceed its current low volumes.
“Our only constraint has been on capacity. There is latent demand for Fit and other small cars.”
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