Honda: Hybrids For Bigger Cars Now That Insight Is Going Away
Scrambling to do a bit of damage control after news broke last month that production of its Insight hybrid will end this year, Honda issued a press release touting its renewed commitment to hybrid technology.
The death of the Insight model begged the question, what about the tiny two-seat CR-Z hybrid hatchback?
2012 Honda CR-Z
And, for that matter, what about the Civic Hybrid sedan too, now in its third generation but still saddled with Honda's aging mild-hybrid system?
In response to a question from Green Car Reports, Honda said only that there are "no production changes" to the CR-Z and Civic Hybrid models at this time.
Meanwhile, the replacement for Honda's 15-year-old Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) mild-hybrid system, known in Japan as i-DCD (for intelligent Direct Clutch Drive), will apparently not come to the U.S. in either of the two vehicles it's fitted to in Japan.
Those are the new 2015 Honda Fit and the subcompact crossover known as the Honda Vezel, which may be renamed for the U.S. before it goes on sale this summer or fall.
Both are subcompacts, and in the U.S., the gas savings from the i-DCD system are not likely to be offset by the cost of the new system, which has a more powerful 22-kilowatt (30-horsepower) electric motor sandwiched between the cars' 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed direct-shift gearbox.
2014 Honda Insight
But back to that Honda press release.
It says that Honda has committed to the expansion of its hybrid offerings in the U.S.
Specifically, Honda is "reinforcing its commitment to a clear product strategy focused on further advancing fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicle technologies that are better aligned with customer needs and that strengthen the company's U.S. sales momentum."
Translated, that means that customers weren't that interested in its mild hybrids, and the company will instead focus in the U.S. on the new two-motor hybrid system launched in the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid and Accord Plug-In Hybrid.
Supplies of the Accord Hybrid have been limited as production ramps up at the Ohio factory where it's built (though the low-volume plug-in hybrid is imported from Japan).