Honda CR-Z Hybrid Concept
Honda puts its Integrated Motor Assist on a cost diet

As reported previously on DailyTech, Honda has big plans in store for 2009 when it comes to hybrid vehicles. Honda is looking to do battle with the Toyota Prius which has the hybrid sector cornered in marketshare and mindshare.

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.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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