Despite an overall sales slump, Honda is claiming huge success with its Insight Hybrid in Japan. Slated to go on sale in North America in April, sales orders of the car in Honda's home market are already triple the expected demand for the vehicle.
Honda had initially predicted sales of 60,000 units in Japan for 2009 with total worldwide sales numbering 200,000 units.
There are two reasons for the high demand: price and fuel economy. In Japan the Insight Hybrid costs 1.89 million yen, or roughly $20,0000 - 20 percent less than a Toyota Prius.
Fuel economy numbers are also impressive. Honda is bragging about a 61 mpg rating for the car, which is significantly better than the current Prius at 46 mpg. It's even better than the 50 mpg expected for the upcoming third generation Prius.
The surprising surge in demand is causing Honda to take a second look at Insight production, so much so that Honda executive Hiroshi Kobayashi told reporters at a test-drive event in Tokyo that the company intends to increase production to meet the demand.
More: Honda Insight Hybrid Orders Triple Expected Demand