Mike Stevens | Jul 14, 2009

FOLLOWING the news that 2010 will see the launch of both the Honda CR-Z hybrid and a hybrid version of the company's popular Jazz small car, Honda's newly-appointed CEO Takanobu Ito has said that he wants hybrid technology to become a primary focus for Japan's number-two carmaker.

Speaking to a media gathering at Honda's Japanese headquarters in his first public appearance as company president, Mr Ito told press that fuel economy and environmental considerations are two of the most important factors in a customer's decision to buy a new car.

"I think everyone is going to go the way of hybrids. Bringing hybrids quickly to customers will be a major focus of our activities," he said.

"I want Honda to be a speedy company."

Mr Ito said that Honda will accelerate the development of a new type of hybrid system, featuring two electric motors paired and installed in medium to large models. The company has also shelved plans to utilise diesel engines in its line-up.

The 55-year-old former engineer, responsible for the development of the Honda NSX's chassis, said that virtually all of the engineers that had been working for Honda's F1 team are now working on the company's hybrid projects.

In February this year, Honda introduced the Insight hybrid which, in Japan, has exceeded the manufacturer's expectations of 5000 sales per month. Sales in the US however have not been so strong, with the Insight so far falling short of its targeted 90,000 sales per year.

Mr Ito said that the Insight's sales in the US are due to a limited production capacity and the unexpected success of the car in the Japanese market. Mr Ito then went on to say that filling orders in Japan remains the priority for Honda

[via Reuters]

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