When the first generation Honda Insight came out, people didn’t even know what a hybrid was. Its fuel-efficient, four-cylinder motor, coupled to an electric motor, provided good pick-up and unheard of (at the time) fuel economy. On top of all that, it came with a five-speed manual! But alas, it came and went.
Now Honda has just shown a new Insight Hybrid at the Paris Auto Show. Though shown only in concept form, it’s quite close to what the next generation Insight is going to look like. Honda plans to introduce four new hybrid models over the next four years as part of a global strategy to boost hybrid sales to 500,000 units by 2012. If they achieve this goal, it would represent more than 10 percent of the company’s total worldwide annual automobile sales, which is impressive stuff.
"Following the launch of the new Insight, Honda also plans to introduce another unique sporty hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show," the automaker said in a statement. Honda said it was able to keep the price low by "utilizing a more cost-efficient version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid technology, resulting in a new level of affordability for hybrid customers worldwide."
Honda provided few technical specifications on the actual unit itself. The new Honda Insight is expected to be priced at less than $20,000, which is mighty competitive, and it underscores Toyota’s Prius by about $3,000. A production model will probably debut in mid to late 2009 as a 2010 model.
It’s the Honda of the future!