New, stand-alone Honda hybrid here in 2009, priced at Focus money
22 October 2007

Honda is promising to inject a new dose of power into the case for hybrid cars by introducing an all-new petrol-electric model that will make the previously expensive technology more affordable.Arriving in 2009 and likely to cost around £14,000, the new model has been described by an insider as a family hatchback. That would make it unlikely to share its size and proportions with the Small Hybrid Sports concept (pictured) that starred at the Geneva show in March, although it could inherit styling cues from the car.Like the Toyota Prius, it will be a standalone model, whereas up until now Honda's hybrid strategy has been to bolt on hybrid systems to normal production models like the Civic saloon."Hybrid is the most appropriate technology for small cars," said Honda Europe President Shigera Tokagi, "making a global small hybrid will make it more affordable than existing hybrids."The company wants the new model to massively boost its hybrid sales. It hopes to sell 200,000 of them a year around the world. By contrast, Honda sold 200,000 hybrids from 1999 to the end of last year.

Cleaning up its diesel act

Honda is also forging ahead with it improved diesel engine technology, planning to make its oil burners as clean as its petrols.A cleaner and more powerful version of the current 2.2-lire dieseł will be launched in next year's new Accord. Called I-DTEC, it will be cleaner and more powerful and also be available with an automatic gearbox.At last month's Frankfurt motor show the company also revealed plans to produce an even cleaner development which will meet stringent Euro VI emissions regulations which come into force in 2014. It will also mean that Honda can sell diesels in Japan and the US.

Chas Hallett

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