Honda Motor Company this morning in Tokyo confirmed plans to begin sales of a CR-Z hybrid model in February 2010, with a hybrid version of the Fit following before the end of the year.
“We want to focus on how quickly we can widen our hybrid lineup,” said Honda President and Chief Executive Officer Takanobu Ito at a his first press conference since his appointment last month.
The CR-Z hybrid, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, will also be exported to the U.S. and Europe after the Japanese introduction. For fans of the late, lamented two-seat CR-X sporty car, the latest hybrid announcement means that it is likely a gasoline-powered version of the CR-Z is also imminent. Fit’s future outside of Japan is murkier.
The latest production plans are in keeping with an industry trend that has makers moving toward the electrification of the automobile, prompted by increasingly stringent emission or CO2 regulations, and government incentives. It is not clear at this time that buyers will follow in sufficient numbers, though, if the incentives are dropped.
However, Honda’s latest production hybrid, the Insight, is now selling well enough that the company is changing the capacity at its Suzuka Japan, factory where it is made.
Two assembly lines are now making the car instead of one.