The new Insight is a 5-door hatchback equipped with Honda's petrol-electric IMA hybrid system that offers low emission and fuel efficient performance. It is designed to reach out to a wider market by making the hybrid technology more affordable.
The Insight is a culmination of 20 years of hybrid development and more than 35 years of lower impact petrol engine development which originated with the CVCC engine back in 1972.
In its quest to be a company that society wants to exist, Honda challenged its engineers in building a hybrid for everyone. To attain its plan to produce and sell more hybrid cars, a new electric motor production line has been added to the Suzuka factory in Japan in order to double its IMA motors production capacity per hour. Increase in the production and sales of hybrid cars then lead to economies of scale, thereby lowering final cost per unit.
Specific product developments are also carefully studied in keeping the costs down. 95% percent of the IMA unit is redesigned to reduce both size and cost. Meanwhile, its platform and chassis share many components with that of the new Jazz.
"Our engineers have shown great tenacity and skill in reducing the cost our IMA system to allow us to reduce the build costs of the Insight. By using so many components that are manufactured in-house, we have the ability in the market to continuously refine our processes in a way an outside supplier might not." Yasunari Seki, Insight Large Project Leader said.
Honda expects the Insight to have a significant impact on the industry. Making cleaner cars accessible to a completely new group of car buyers helps increase sales volume of hybrid cars. This only results to a positive effect on over-all emission figures for the benefit of the environment. The Insight's fuel economy (combined) is 4.41/100 km, while CO2 emissions are as low as 101 g/km. Indeed, Honda has concentrated in developing a car that will deliver better fuel economy in real world conditions and in everyday driving.
Globally, Honda aims to sell 200,000 Insights each year, with the US market taking 100,000 of these cars. As CEO and President, Mr. Takeo Fukui has announced, hybrids will make up 10% of Honda's total car sales by the middle of the next decade. In order to achieve this, Honda will also launch a sporty hybrid (based on CR-Z) and a Jazz Hybrid over the next few years. With its hybrid line-up, Honda aims to sell over 500,000 hybrids globally per year.
The Insight will be produced at Honda's Suzuka factory in Japan where a new hybrid motor production line has been added. It will be launched at Honda dealers throughout the United Sales in the beginning of April 2009 and in European markets from Spring 2009.