Honda has said it received orders for about 18,000 units of its Insight hybrid in the first month after its Japanese market debut in early February.

The company said that the monthly sales target for the hybrid in Japan is 5,000 units.

Honda said the Insight has been well received by a wide variety of customers, including young singles and seniors who are seeking a family car, thanks to its high fuel economy and ‘affordable’ price.

The new Honda car became the 10th best seller among non-mini vehicles for February in Japan, with monthly sales of 4,906 units, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA).

Honda UK recently said its own research had found that most drivers think hybrids are more expensive and in the past this has stopped them adopting the cleaner engine technology.

A spokesperson at Honda UK said: “In our most recent public survey, of those who wouldn’t consider a hybrid vehicle, 40% said price is the main reason they’re put off. For most drivers, hybrid cars have been viewed as an expensive alternative to petrol and diesel models, seen as a status symbol. The Insight – and its lower price position – will make hybrid technology available to more people, including car buyers who would never have considered a hybrid before.”

The entry Insight in Britain is GBP300 cheaper than a VW Golf 1.6 S automatic, and around GBP2,000 cheaper than a Ford Focus Econetic Man or Honda’s own Civic Hybrid ES CVT.