TOKYO — Honda Motor Co. is aiming for annual sales of 100,000 units in North America for its next-generation hybrid, a car priced under the Honda Civic Hybrid to go head-to-head with the Toyota Prius.
The car will hit the market in 2009 and be a dedicated hybrid with no gasoline version, Honda COO Takanobu Ito said at the Tokyo motor show.
It will seat four to five people and probably take styling cues from the wedge-shaped FCX fuel cell sedan that Honda is displaying at the show. The price will come in below the Honda Civic Hybrid and above the Honda Fit subcompact, Ito said.
He declined to say whether the new hybrid will use a lithium ion battery, which is still not used in production cars, or the nickel-metal hydride batteries common in today's hybrids.
Honda plans worldwide sales of 200,000 units for the new hybrid.
Separately, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui said the company is developing another hybrid model based on the CR-Z, a small, sporty hybrid also on display at the Tokyo show. He did not give a timeline for that car.
Ito said companies will increasingly test the market for hybrid sports cars because the cars allow for high torque and quick acceleration. But he predicted that it could take more than a decade for such a segment to become well-established.
Ito said the primary challenge is reducing the weight of the heavy battery, which is a drag on performance.