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March 16, 2010

JAPAN: New hybrid Honda draws 8,000 orders

Honda Motor on Tuesday said it had taken about 8,000 orders for the CR-Z hybrid sports coupe in Japan less than three weeks after its domestic market launch.

Honda Motor on Tuesday said it had taken about 8,000 orders for the CR-Z hybrid sports coupe in Japan less than three weeks after its domestic market launch.

That’s eight times the monthly sales target of 1,000 units but way off the 80,000 orders Toyota held for the third generation Prius launched in Japan last May.

The two-door compact, which went on sale in Japan on 26 February, is the second in a line of low-cost hybrid cars after the five-door Insight launched about a year ago and is scheduled for launch in North America and Europe this summer.

Honda has said it expects to sell 40,000-50,000 of the CR-Z a year worldwide.

Of the orders received in Japan, 40% of customers chose the six-speed manual transmission version in what Honda officials said indicated a popularity among sports car enthusiasts. Nearly all cars sold in Japan are automatic. Hybrids are rarely offered with manual transmission and the CR-Z is the first with a six-speed ‘box.

Honda continued to trail Toyota by a wide margin in hybrid sales, with the low-cost Insight selling just 3,500 units last month, compared with 27,000 for the rival Prius.

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