Steane Klose | Sep 3, 2008

With a look believed to be similar to the FCX Clarity, the prototype of Honda's new Prius-Fighter was not expected to be revealed until the Paris Motor Show next month - but that appears to have changed. It now appears that we could get our first look as early as Thursday this week. The folks over at Carscoop know people who know people (they’ve got a subscription with Just-Auto), and it appears that Honda is keen to give us all an early look at arguably the most important concept from the Japanese manufacturer in many years.

Honda is then expected to reveal a production version of the new dedicated hybrid in January next year, at the Detroit Auto Show.

In an effort to crack the stranglehold on the hybrid market, currently enjoyed by Toyota’s Prius, Honda has two prongs to its attack. Build a stand-alone hybrid model (like the Prius) and, second, make it affordable (unlike the Prius). Honda is calling it their ‘Global Hybrid’.

Honda UK’s environmental manager John Kingston, at the recent European launch of the new Jazz, made it clear that Honda intends to take dedicated hybrids to a new level of acceptance.

"It is a very important car for Honda and our future direction. This is a car that will change customer perception of hybrids. This is key for us and to achieve this hybrids have to be made more affordable - the key barrier to hybrid sales is price and we want to break that barrier," added Kingston.

Kingston also revealed, that it is Honda’s intention to sell the Global Hybrid at prices that are comparable to the equivalent conventional cars being sold by other manufacturers. That may not be easy, but if Honda can pull it off, expect a storming success.

Honda’s upcoming Global Hybrid will be built on an all-new platform, in the form of a compact five-door hatchback. The powertrain will be an evolution of the Civic’s IMA’s mild-hybrid powertrain.

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