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Will Honda Fit Hybrid Start a Price War?


 

Angular Front Exterior View - 2010 Honda Fit 5dr HB Auto

Angular Front Exterior View - 2010 Honda Fit 5dr HB Auto

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Reuters speculates this morning that a hybrid price war is about to break out between Honda and Toyota.  The initial skirmish, the bureau says, will come in Japan.  But if a discount battle were to start, it's hard to imagine it being contained in the Japanese domestic market.  Then again, we've heard all of this before.

Japan's Nekkei Business Daily reports that an upcoming hybrid edition of the Honda Fit will be the trigger.  Honda has announced pricing for the Fit hybrid.  The new car will begin at 1.5 million yen (about $16,570) when it goes on sale this fall.  That undercuts the Toyota Prius significantly -- in Japan, Reuters reports, Prius prices start at 2.1 million yen ($23,500).

But then, analysts predicted the same price war when Honda first launched the Insight hybrid.  Coming in at 1.9 million yet ($21,300), the Insight is currently the least-expensive hybrid car on the market in Japan.  Many had predicted that the Insight's appearance on U.S. shores would lead Toyota to introduce a stripped-down Prius for under $20k, but despite early chatter out of Toyota, the cheap Prius I never showed up in American showrooms.

Prius prices stayed high for many years because Toyota needed to recoup research and development costs for the first largely successful hybrid, but analysts tell Reuters that issue is no longer relevant, for either Toyota or Honda.  Kazaka Securities analyst Yoshihiko Tabei told Reuters "Toyota has finally begun enjoying profits on the Prius and Honda is barely making profits on the Insight." Lowering prices wouldn't be easy, but it's at least realistic for the first time.

In the meantime, we're just hoping for some news about the Fit hybrid on our own shores.  According to Reuters, it will combine the practical body of the Fit with the surprisingly zippy powertrain of the Insight.  If that reaches U.S. showrooms with a low pricetag, Honda may have a hit on its hands.

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Comments (9)
  1. Until Honda improves/replaces the IMA system, it is not going to be much of a war unless the system comes @ little to no premium
     
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  2. I'm looking forward to such this and I disagree with Gigan. The simplicity of the IMA will mean lower costs, greater reliability and simpler maintenance in the long run. I don't mind using fuel when moving but I don't want to use fuel when stopped at traffic lights and such. This makes much more sense than a complicated drive system that gets great MPG but is 100x more complicated to maintain. I want a CAR, and a Prius isn't really one.
     
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  3. Remember that they kept the new Prius price down to compete w/ the Insight (before it became a relative failure) ... Toyota will do anything to keep their sales up. ANYTHING.
     
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  4. don't care much whether it's a true hybrid, it's the mileage that's important. at 70mpg and 17k, it's a hit for sure and if longt is correct about the simplicity of the IMA system, that's even better...gas hits 3.50 a gal and i am at the honda dealer with check book
     
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  5. btw, tired of my odyssey's 18 mpg for my 70 mile commute..
     
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  6. IMA is a good system and I like its simplicity but Honda should improve the software. When I stopped on the lights the motor shuts down but when the driver released the brake and moved two meters the motor did not shut down until the car reached certain speed; this is disappointing. The software should be programmed to turn the engine off under these circumstances.
    Another, weak point on Honda cars is "road noise" and stiff ride.
     
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  7. The loser will be the Insight - the Fit will not only be cheaper than the Insight probably be more spacious cabin. I've only sat in the Insight, and it is surprising cramped, especially rear headroom.
     
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  8. I really want to see this car ASAP here in US. What us the general consensus about the transmission? Will we see the 6speed manual that is going in the cr-z? Any manual choice at all? PLEASE LET THERE BE A MANUAL!
     
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  9. The 5-door hatchback compact model from the automobile producer, Honda, was first released in 2001 as 2002 vehicle. It uses the small car platform, which is also used by Mobilio Spike and Honda Airwave.
     
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