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Honda Expects New Hybrid Set to Launch in April Will Be High-Volume Seller

August 18, 2008

TRAVERSE CITY, MI --- Though Honda Motor Co. hasn't yet revealed the name or pricing of its hybrid vehicle set to launch globally on April 22, the company said the car's sales will eventually reach more than 100,000 a year in North America and 200,000 globally, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Honda will build the car -- a five-door, five-passenger vehicle -- in Japan. The launch date of April 22 is Earth Day.

"We believe our hybrid system is best suited for smaller vehicles where the fuel-efficiency gains are the greatest," Dick Colliver, executive vice president of Honda's U.S. sales arm, said during a speech at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City. "The challenge, especially with small cars, is to bring the price down to where more people can afford it."

Colliver added that the new car's price will be below that of the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid. The new hybrid is part of Honda's effort to eventually reach annual sales of 500,000 gas-electric hybrids from four vehicles, the Detroit Free Press reported. The other three hybrid vehicles in Honda's plans include the existing Civic Hybrid, a hybrid version of the Honda Fit and a small, sporty hybrid loosely based on the discontinued Honda CRX (now known as the CR-Z).

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