LOS ANGELES - Honda dealers nationwide sold just 17 hybrid-powered Insights in December and 51 in January, but American Honda Motor Co. officials are quite happy with the results.
All sales to date have been pre-sold orders that never touched a showroom floor, said Honda spokesman Art Garner. Another 200 Insights have been pre-sold, he said.
'We have no concerns about Insight whatsoever,' Garner said. 'People are lining up all over the place to buy them, to see them. It's just a matter of availability.'
Honda expects to sell about 400 Insights a month starting in March. That's when the pipeline begins filling with regular shipments from Japan, where the two-seater is built.
Such was not the case with Honda's previous foray into a high-tech green car. After selling 300 units of the EVPlus electric vehicle in three years, Honda pulled the plug last April.
General Motors has suffered through similar tepid demand for its EV1 electric vehicle, although it has not officially discontinued the car.
But the Insight differs from the EVPlus, as does the Toyota Prius, which arrives later this spring, in not having batteries to charge. The hybrid powertrain combines a small, standard gasoline engine and an electric motor, which draws its power from batteries charged by the gasoline engine.
The Insight is priced at $19,295, including freight.