Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to the Prologue as Honda's first electric vehicle.
Honda Motor Co.'s forthcoming electric vehicle, the Prologue crossover, won't arrive at U.S. dealerships until 2024. But in preparation, the Japanese automaker will use the redesigned CR-V hybrid to hold onto EV-minded customers until the brand has one to offer.
Buyers of the compact hybrid, which goes on sale this fall in two well-equipped trims, the Sport and Sport Touring, will be able to opt into a short, two-year lease that will enable them to easily swap into a Prologue EV when it hits dealer lots.
The automaker revealed the first images of the Prologue on Thursday, and gave some details about the new EV's size and styling. It will be a midsize crossover with a low roofline and large wheels.
While final details of the lease program have not been worked out, "there will be some sort of benefit to purchasers of the Prologue from having taken the lease, whether it's a financial incentive, or something else," said Gary Robinson, American Honda's assistant vice president of product planning.
Robinson said that the CR-V garners loyal buyers and serves as a stepping stone to other Honda crossovers. "About 60 percent of CR-V buyers are repeat Honda customers," he said. "They're buyers who continue to stay in the brand."
Honda predicts that half of all CR-V buyers will opt into the hybrid model when it becomes available.
The CR-V is a top seller for the brand. Despite a tough September, Honda sold 22,205 CR-Vs last month, a 27 percent increase from September a year ago. In 2021, CR-V sold 361,271 units in the U.S.
"We really see Prologue as another natural progression for our CR-V buyers," Robinson said.