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Honda planning to market low-cost hybrid Fit vehicle?

According to the Japanese daily Nihon Keizai, Honda Motors will soon be selling a low-cost hybrid version of its popular Fit subcompact car. The rumored move is said to be an indication of Honda’s long-term commitment to the powertrain.

Honda is anticipated to market the Fit hybrid as early as April 2007 in Japan and then later on internationally. The car will sell for approximately 1.4 million yen or US $11,790. The amount is about 200,000 yen more than its gasoline-only counterpart. Still, the Fit hybrid would make if the first hybrid to cost consumers less than 2 million yen or US $16,840.

Honda has denied that it has already decided to produce a hybrid version of the Fit but concedes that it does have the technological expertise to produce it. Further, its Chief Executive, Takeo Fukui, has long claimed that the price premium for a hybrid (on top of a gasoline-only vehicle) should be under 200,000 yen or US $1,680 for the powertrain to go mainstream.

Currently, Honda is already selling hybrid versions of the Accord and Civic, its two best-selling vehicles, for 300,000 yen or US $2,525. Meanwhile, its hybrid-only car Insight coupe was the first gasoline-electric vehicle to be marketed in the US.

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