Honda will sell a version of its baby Fit (Jazz) model in the United States beginning perhaps as early as this year, according to The Car Connection (TCC), citing a report in Japan’s Nihon Keizai business newspaper.
A subsequent Reuters report said that Honda denied firm plans but acknowledged a Fit/Jazz-based model was being considered for the US. It’s worth noting that while the hatchback version of the Fit/Jazz gets most attention worldwise, Honda also builds a sedan derivative in Thailand for the Far East, and small sedans are also popular in the US.
TCC said the model would be positioned below the Civic in the US model range to rival entry-level Hyundai, KIA, and Suzuki models, and would also give Honda car to compete with Toyota‘s newly-launched, youth-oriented Scion brand.
Honda is deciding whether to export the car from plants in Brazil or Japan, TCC said.
The Car Connection said Honda isn’t yet talking US sales figures and added that the Brazilian plant could add an extra 20,000 units a year. If the dollar continues to weaken, Brazil would get the nod, but, with Honda planning to expand sales in other South American countries, US Fits are more likely to come from Japan.
TCC expects US Fit prices to start around $10,000, undercuting the starter Civic by $3000.
Competition will also include cheap Korean-made Chevrolet [the GM-Daewoo-built Aveo clone of the Kalos offered as both a hatchback or a sedan], as well as Suzuki and Kia sub-compacts already in or headed for the US this year, The Car Connection noted.