TOKYO — Honda Motor Co. premiered its fully redesigned Fit subcompact on Wednesday at the Tokyo Motor Show, with plans to release it first in Japan in February 2020, a few months behind the originally scheduled release in November.
Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the company will roll out the new Fit in Europe next year. He said plans for release in other markets, including the U.S., are still under consideration.
The Fit's November launch was delayed because Honda changed specifications on the car's electric parking brake.
Honda decided to switch to a disc-type parking brake in all Fit models because it was unable to secure a sufficient supply of drum-type brakes from Dutch supplier Chassis Brakes International.
"This change will take some time, but I am sure we can deliver the reliable car to customers in February," Hachigo said. "I believe this delay won't have much of an impact in the long run."
Hachigo said the fourth-generation Fit employs a new and compact two-motor hybrid system, which can be applied to small-size vehicles.
"What we strive to do with this all-new Fit is to establish the standard for compact cars suited to this new era," he said. "We believe this car will be able to become an industry standard."
Honda incorporates this smaller two-motor hybrid system into the new Fit to meet emissions standards.
"Globally, I think efforts to comply with CAFE regulations will become most important," Hachigo said. "In order to meet future regulations, we have decided to use the two-motor hybrid even in the Fit this time."
Honda is giving the two-motor setup a new name — e:HEV. Previously, the company called its two-motor system i-MMD, for intelligent multimode drive.
The rebranding is part of what the company calls Honda e:Technology, a collection of high-efficiency electrification technologies, including energy management systems.
By deploying this e:HEV technology in the Fit, the new Accord and other models, Honda aims to achieve the goal of having electrified cars account for two-thirds of its global sales by 2030.
The new Fit will come in hybrid and gasoline models in Japan and Europe, but the car will be sold as the Jazz in Europe, according to Honda.
Meanwhile, Honda said it will release the Honda e urban commuter in Europe early next summer, followed by Japan sometime in 2020. The Honda e mass-production model was showcased at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
Hachigo said the new Fit represents Honda's broader electrification efforts from Japan to global markets. "We are confident about the competitiveness of this car, so we think that this car can win a competition in the long run, for sure."