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Old 01-04-2005, 02:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Honda to stay with slow-selling Insight, says no hybrid SUV

http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=101529

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Honda to stay with slow-selling Insight, says hybrid SUV not in 3-year plan

YUZO YAMAGUCHI | Automotive News
Posted Date: 1/4/05

TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co. has no plans to remodel the poor-selling Insight hybrid.

But it has no plans to kill the two-seater, either, says President Takeo Fukui, because it is the most fuel-efficient car sold in the United States.

"That's an image car with the top fuel economy," he says.

The Insight's U.S. November sales numbered only 5, down from 39 a year earlier. For the 11 months of last year, Honda sold only 575 Insights, a plunge from 1,124 in the year-ago period.

The car was launched in 1999 to demonstrate Honda's fuel-saving technology. It is powered by an electric motor and a three-cylinder gasoline-powered engine.

With a five-speed manual transmission, the Insight achieves 61 mpg in the city and 66 mpg on the highway. That tops the Toyota Prius' 60 mpg in the city and 51 on the highway.

The Prius, which was launched in 2000, has been embraced by environmentally conscious Americans. In the first 11 months of this year, Toyota sold 47,704 Prius units in the United States, more than double the number sold in the same period of the previous year.

Hybrid SUV not in 3-year plan

Unlike Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. has no plans to build hybrid SUVs in the next three years.

"For now, we are not thinking about it" for the three-year plan starting in April, says Honda President Takeo Fukui.

SUV owners care little about fuel economy, Fukui says. "If they look for fuel efficiency," he says, "they could shift to a car."

Fuel-efficient hybrids use gasoline- or diesel-powered engines teamed with an electric motor.

Honda sells the Insight, the company's first hybrid, and hybrid versions of the Accord and Civic.

Fukui added that a hybrid powertrain is "an extremely expensive system," and that Honda can devise cheaper alternatives to save fuel in vehicles. For example, the Odyssey and the hybrid Accord use cylinder deactivation. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine runs on all six cylinders when accelerating and three when cruising.

Honda's reluctance to offer hybrid SUVs contrasts with Toyota's plans. The Lexus RX 400h hybrid is scheduled to go on sale April 15, and the Toyota Highlander hybrid is scheduled to go on sale in June.
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have to say, I'm a little surprised that Honda will not be putting a hybrid powertrain in a CRV any time soon. I figured that since that vehicle is essentially a Civic platform that they'd probably be putting a hybrid engine in it for the '08 model year (seems like they've been introducing a new hybrid every three years or so, Insight in '99, HCH in '02, Accord Hybrid in '05). That seems also to be a good time because if I'm correct in my timelines, that would be the year Honda would bring out the 3rd generation CRV or maybe the 2nd year of the 3rd generation. Just speculation of course. Maybe the article is intentionally shifting focus away from potential Honda hybrid SUV's so that Honda does not seem to be following Toyota.

As for no Insight replacement, that's kinda a bummer too. At least they basically said that production, albeit at a trickle, will continue for the Insight. At least until Toyota decides to maximize the Prius or something else to best the Insight's chart topping mileage. Once someone knocks the Insight from the top of the mileage heap I would imagine at that time production would end.
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Old 01-04-2005, 07:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Rai Ka:

___Thank you for the link Ö I have also read recent Honda press releases that mention all Hondas after MY 2005 will have Side and Curtain air bags? Now if the above is true, I wonder how they are going to accomplish this feat in an Insight without major redesign?

___In regards to SUVís, I as well as many other Honda enthusiasts were almost positive the new Acura RDX had a good shot at using the AHís drivetrain? Honda might be about ready to get their head taken off as VCM is not showing the promise of increased FE that many had hoped for from the preliminary AH ownerís postings. It works and works well from a smoothness standpoint but balancing those 3-cylinder with AMís and ANC to cover up the sound is not cheap either let alone how IMA helps maintain 3-cylinder operation with slight changes in load vs. a stomp of the gas pedal?

___I donít know if you have read of Fordís - Mercury Meta-One technology test bed but if the numbers present themselves as I think they will, this PZEV rated Diesel-Hybrid will not only achieve AH like performance and close to similar FE, it will do so in a Crossover SUV that will cost very similar to what Acura sells the MDX for today. This is not even considering the Volvo inspired Active Avoidance that the Meta-One is currently equipped with. Of course this automobile is a technology demonstrator but the way Ford has been revving up; they cannot afford not to jump ahead with their world-class and patented Diesel power and emissions tech now that they have a means to deliver the power, efficiency, and cleanliness through a hybrid drivetrain. As long as the EPA mandated LSD does actually appear in all 50 states in just 1.5 years that is.

2005 Detroit: Mercury's Meta One sport wagon concept for Detroit showcases advances

___Of course I am a little biased given the Ford Ranger P/Uís FE performance and utility as of late as well as the fact that Ford has been a part of my family and now my locale for quite some time. As I mentioned in the other thread, if the Meta-One becomes available at anywhere near what Acura receives for the MDX, my wifeís MDX will be removed from our fleet post haste given the sickening 17 mpg she has been achieving back and forth to work over the last month or so

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:g7n1dao0][email protected][/email:g7n1dao0]
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Old 01-04-2005, 07:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That it is just crazy. I cannot believe there is not going to be a redesign. Smoke and Mirrors?

There was a recent newspaper article in the UK (Sunday Times) about the highest and lowest selling vehicles in the UK during 2004. The bottom three read:

Honda Insight - 2 !!!!
£150,000/$270,000 Supercar (can't remember which one) - 2
Honda Legend - 1 ?!?
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Old 01-04-2005, 08:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default saying it again...

Comparing the Insight with the Prius is really apples and oranges. Really the only thing they have in common market-wise is both are hatchbacks. The Prius has a big-car, SUV look, evoking the horrendously-ugly Pontiac Aztek.

But more importantly, it's a four-seater, and the Insight is not. Even single, childfree people I know wouldn't own a two-seater.

I'd find comparing Insight sales numbers with those of the CRX in mid- to late-eighties more interesting. Or perhaps with other two-seaters on the market, such as the Miata.
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think that is great news for every Insight owner.

I believe the Toyota Prius is maxed out for efficiency, which considering its 3,000 pound weight is astounding. Toyota has nothing to gain financially by building an Insight clone. Honda has little to gain building an Escape clone.

Perhaps we should look for an Accura hybrid?
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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This makes me wonder what I'm gonna do for my next car. I was banking on getting the IMAS in 2006/2007. It frustrates me that only the Prius II is offering anything interesting as far as new hybrids.

I have no desire for an accord or civic hybrid as they are just marginally better than the standard version but cost significantly more. Plus honda isn't even going the PZEV route which makes no sense.

Another Insight-like car that consistently gets 85mpg at 85mph is another story.
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Old 01-05-2005, 06:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtrouble77
This makes me wonder what I'm gonna do for my next car. I was banking on getting the IMAS in 2006/2007.
Me too. The Insight is the only car I 'love' and the IMAS is the only car that could replace that. I will keep a watchful eye for any updates on the BBC Top Gear cars coming soon list.

One of the principles I have is to always drive the most environmentally friendly car available. If another manufacturer produces something that betters the Insight (Daihatsu UFE?) then I will buy that. Failing that, I may convert an Insight to all electric as a special project.
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Old 01-05-2005, 11:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcel
Hi Rai Ka:

___Thank you for the link Ö I have also read recent Honda press releases that mention all Hondas after MY 2005 will have Side and Curtain air bags? Now if the above is true, I wonder how they are going to accomplish this feat in an Insight without major redesign?
What about the NSX....that doesn't have side/curtain-bags either.
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Old 01-05-2005, 02:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Rats! I wanted to have an Insight 2 so there would be no way Ford F250's and H2s could see me in a rear-view mirror. :twisted:
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