HONDA IS SET to up the ante in its hybrid rivalry with Toyota next year, today announcing its intent to bring two new petrol-electric models to market before the end of 2010.
The first will be the Honda CR-Z, the spiritual successor to the CRX of the 1990s and the first production hybrid sports car from a major manufacturer.
The CR-Z is slated to make its Japanese sales debut in February next year, however pricing and precise specifications have not been revealed. Full details of the CR-Z are expected to be revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show in October.
The second model is a hybrid variant of the Jazz, which is sold as the Fit overseas. The Fit Hybrid's sale date has yet to be confirmed, but Honda has confirmed that it will hit Japanese showrooms before 2010 is out.
Like the CR-Z, not much is known about the Fit Hybrid's mechanical package. However, given the admirable frugality of the standard petrol-powered Jazz, it's highly possible that the little hatch may even surpass the fuel consumption figures of the all-new Insight.
But Honda's hybrid efforts certainly won't be ending with the CR-Z and Fit Hybrid. The Japanese automaker has also announced that it is in the midst of developing a new hybrid powertrain system for mid-to-large vehicles, sparking speculation that the Accord, Accord Euro and perhaps even the Legend may be next in line for the hybrid treatment.
Honda Australia's Public Relations Manager, Mark Higgins, told TMR that both hybrids are likely to arrive in Australian showrooms in 2011, although firm dates have not yet been confirmed.