Honda rolls out new cheap hybrid with familiar name
At the Paris International Auto Show next month, Honda will unveil a prototype of its new low-cost hybrid: the Insight. A lot has changed since 1999, when the company debuted the first hybrid to hit American roads: the, um, Insight. Has Honda exhausted its supply of car names? Nay, says the company: “The name Insight was chosen to denote Honda’s ‘insight’ into a new era in which hybrid vehicles come within reach of most car buyers.” Indeed, when the new Insight hits showrooms in spring 2009, it’s expected to be priced around $18,500; the base retail price for the 2009 Toyota Prius is $22,000. Honda officials are so far mum on the Insight’s expected fuel economy. With its five-door, five-passenger offering, Honda hopes to gain ground on Toyota in the hybrid market, but it has a ways to go: Toyota sold some 280,000 hybrids in the first seven months of 2008, while Honda sold about that many hybrids in the past decade.