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Friday, 22 January 2010 10:22

Honda Hybrids Behind Sales Target

Honda planned on selling 200,000 Insight hybrids worldwide in its first year on the market, but that prospect has dimmed, Honda's executive vice president Koichi Kondo told media sources. The problem with the car is that it's too small for American customers, particularly in the backseat, Kondo explained. U.S. customers instead prefer Toyota's revamped hybrid Prius. The Prius beat Insight sales seven-to-one in the U.S. during the final quarter of 2009.


Kondo added that lower U.S. fuel prices have also been damping consumers' incentive to buy new hybrids like the Insight.

Honda introduced the Insight hybrid to Japan in February and to the U.S. in March. Since then, Japan's second largest automaker has sold 130,445 Insights worldwide and only 20,572 in the U.S. as of December 31. Honda's U.S. results fell short of the automaker's goal to sell 90,000 Insights in its first year here.

In Japan and elsewhere, tax breaks and subsidies have helped generate booming demand for the low-emission hybrids.

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