In its efforts to tackle the Prius head-on, Honda plans to
introduce a production version of the CR-Z Hybrid Concept; a five-door,
five-seat hatchback which will retail for around $22,000; and a hybrid version
of the company's popular sub-compact Fit. Honda's three-prong attack should
bode well as consumers flock to more fuel-efficient vehicles.
According to Tech-On!,
Honda will also take
advantage of huge cost savings with the next generation Integrated Motor
Assist (IMA) hybrid system which will be used in all three vehicles. The IMA,
which was used in the discontinued Insight and Accord Hybrid along with the
current Honda Civic will be as much as 50% cheaper says Tech-On!.
The cost savings come as a result of reductions to packaging
and weight along with simplified construction of the critical components. The
use of standardized components between hybrid models -- Fit, Civic Hybrid,
CR-Z, etc. -- is also beneficial in reducing costs.
While Honda's costs for manufacturing the IMA are going
down, it's unknown how much of those savings are going to be passed along to
the consumer. Hybrids are a big business now in America with over $4.00 a
gallon gasoline looming on consumers’ minds -- Toyota only has a one
day supply of Prius' and a 2.5-day supply of Camry Hybrids on dealer lots
when the typical automobile languishes for 60 days.
Whatever Honda decides to charge for its trio of new
hybrids, more than likely there will be a steady stream of buyers lined up to
drive them away from dealer lots.