Honda to launch hybrid Civic in India this month
Honda Motor Co. said on Wednesday it would start selling a hybrid version of its Civic sedan in India from the end of this month as it chases Toyota Motor Corp. in the green car race.
Honda, Japan’s second-largest automaker after Toyota, said it would be the first gasoline-electric hybrid car sold in the fast-growing India market. They will be imported from Japan and priced at 2.15 million rupees ($50,220), the firm said.
Toyota beat Honda to the hybrid market by two years with its Prius in 1997. The vastly improved second-generation Prius in 2003 became an instant hit, helping Japan’s top automaker win a reputation overnight as the front-runner in green technology.
But Honda is hoping to change that. It aims to sell about 500,000 hybrids a year by 2015 — nine times what it sold last year — rivaling Toyota’s own goal of boosting hybrid sales to a 10th of its total sales after 2010.
Honda said it had sold more than 210,000 units of the Civic hybrid since its launch in 2001
Toyota will add 2 all-new hybrids next year
As $4-per-gallon gasoline drains Americans’ wallets, Toyota Motor Corp. last week promised two new hybrid vehicles.
The two hybrids — one badged a Toyota and the other a Lexus — will debut in January at the Detroit auto show and come in addition to the third-generation Prius, also due in 2009.
Masatami Takimoto, executive vice president in charge of r&d, did not say when the two new vehicles are due in U.S. showrooms. But he said they will both run on nickel-metal hydride batteries, and the Toyota vehicle will be larger than the Prius.
“It’s a totally new car,” Takimoto said here last week at a press event.
For the redesigned Prius, Toyota will stick with the current generation’s nickel-metal hydride batteries.
The company also plans next year to start producing powerful lithium ion batteries, designed to help Toyota keep its lead in hot-selling hybrids.