Honda Insight Concept to Debut at Paris Int. Auto Show

by Benjamin Jones on September 4, 2008

For months there has been chatter about Honda’s new 5-door hybrid, which has been hyped up as a Prius-killer. However, details have been scarce up until now, when Honda announced (and shared pictures!) of the Honda Insight Concept, which will be revealed on October 2nd at the Paris International Auto Show.

Much has been made of this car because of it’s low starting price (around $18,500) and higher people/hauling capacity when compared to the original Insight. The new Insight’s starting price will be lower than any other hybrid on the market, and was achieved by cutting the cost of Honda’s IMA system, which should lower hybrid prices across the board.

If you’ve been following the rumors, you’ll know that the new Insight Concept is based on the stylings of Honda’s fuel cell vehicle, the FCX Clarity, which is now on lease to a few lucky people out in California. This aerodynamics shape allows for a large interior while reducing fuel consumption tremendously, and doesn’t look half bad (I’m sure those wheels won’t come on the production model).

Expect to see the new Insight on Honda show-room floors in Spring of next year. Unlike the old Insight (and currently the Prius), we should expect the new Insight to be fairly available for purchase, as Honda intends to sell 200,000 units annually worldwide, with about half of those sales in the US. When more information is available to consumers, I will post again with pictures and links to the Honda site.

Read the full press release below:

TORRANCE, Calif. – Sep 04

Honda will reveal a concept version of its new small hybrid vehicle, to be named Insight, at the 2008 Paris International Auto Show, October 2, the company announced today. The new Insight Concept shares styling cues with the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle and will provide an early look at the highly-anticipated five-passenger hybrid vehicle.

Going on sale in the U.S. next spring, the all-new purpose-built Insight will come to market at a price significantly below hybrids available today. From this unique position in the marketplace, the Insight will advance the affordability and accessibility of hybrid technology to a new generation of buyers.

“The original Honda Insight pioneered hybrid technology in the U.S. and remains a symbol of Honda’s commitment to innovative technology and fuel efficiency,” said Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO. “This new Insight will break new ground as an affordable hybrid within the reach of customers who want great fuel economy and great value.”

The Insight Concept defines a new stage in the evolution of hybrid technology by utilizing a more cost-efficient version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assistâ„¢ (IMAâ„¢) hybrid technology, resulting in a new level of affordability for hybrid customers worldwide. Evoking the innovative styling cues first seen in the FCX Clarity, the Insight Concept is designed with a low center of gravity and a generous five-passenger cabin, offering the kind of driving pleasure and roomy interior that customers have come to expect from Honda. While the Insight Concept’s aerodynamic design clearly identifies its fuel efficient purpose, its five-door access and folding rear seats speak to functionality that is designed to meet the needs of customers with an active lifestyle. The Insight Concept is a small, fuel efficient hybrid car that delivers big style and functionality with a healthy dose of fun.

Honda achieved a significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components which should make Insight the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. The production Insight will be offered as a five-door, five-passenger hatchback. Numerous technologies, including a function to assist customers in achieving more fuel efficient driving habits, will be applied to achieve a further improvement in real world fuel efficiency. With its affordable price, the new hybrid vehicle will represent the best value in its segment. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded hybrid vehicle production line at the Suzuka factory in Japan.

The Insight is expected to have annual global sales of 200,000 units per year – approximately 100,000 in North America. Following the launch of the new Insight, Honda also plans to introduce another unique sporty hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. All together, Honda’s global sales of hybrids should increase to approximately 500,000 units a year, or more than 10 percent of its total worldwide annual automobile sales.

The original Honda Insight was introduced in December 1999 as America’s first gas-electric hybrid car. The first vehicle to break the 70-mpg fuel economy barrier, Insight was designed from the ground up to demonstrate the ultimate potential for fuel-economy in a two-seater subcompact automobile.

A leader in the development of cleaner, more fuel-efficient mobility products, Honda introduced the first low-emission gasoline vehicles; America’s first gas-electric hybrid car and the world’s first EPA-certified hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX. In 2007, Honda was named “greenest automaker” by the Union of Concerned Scientists for the fourth straight time.

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1 mpgomatic September 4, 2008 at 7:08 am

No OEM skirts? Fire up the aftermarket!

2 Joe September 5, 2008 at 8:07 pm

I just don’t see Honda throwing those rims on an insight. Looks more like a bad take-off of an audi R8 than an insight. Honda needs to simmer down, keep cars comparable to Acura.

3 Miles Logan September 5, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Whats the MPG ?

4 bigd0g September 5, 2008 at 8:49 pm

It looks just like my Prius?! I call shens!

5 luck62 September 5, 2008 at 8:58 pm

look very great!

6 m land September 6, 2008 at 3:14 am

70 mpgs, wow

7 nurse September 6, 2008 at 3:29 am

beautiful car! I’d like to buy one!

8 Claude September 6, 2008 at 5:38 am

i really hope that Honda has made a better looking car than the Prius. Seems like that would be a good opening besides lower price point. Those Priuses are goofy looking!

9 Db September 6, 2008 at 7:00 am

thank god honda designed a decent looking hybrid, i for one am sick of all the prius’ out there – they may be tech cool but stylistically they’re as ugly as a pontiac vibe.

10 Ken September 6, 2008 at 7:12 am

I’m going to buy one, without a doubt. How much do you want to bet that when the new Insight becomes available, there’s going to be a 2-3 month waiting list and Honda will have an official press release stating that “we did not expect demand would be this high and we are increasing production….for 2010…..blah, blah, blah”.

11 Ken September 6, 2008 at 7:16 am

The new Insight looks awesome! I guess all properly designed hybrids will look similar to the Pirus once the computer crunches the numbers to determine what shapes create the least amount of drag.

12 Gary September 6, 2008 at 10:34 am

This car is beautiful and technologically advanced. A 60 -70 mpg car for only $18,000. This car is a must!

13 D September 6, 2008 at 10:49 am

Seriously… Stop putting ugly wheels on your hybrids already!

14 mr. mike September 6, 2008 at 12:46 pm

It still depends on a petroleum base fuel. It is unfortunate that in this era of high tech the human race can only come up with more of the same, doesn’t say much for the species.

15 Bidz September 8, 2008 at 11:11 pm

Mr. Mike:

Everyone doesn’t have 100k to spend on a electric roadster and the Volt is an American made car which of course lacks credibility. Don’t knock a car that boasts the best fuel economy and a name that excudes reliability. We are making strides, be positive and the world will react positively!

16 web design company September 21, 2008 at 1:14 am

Wow. GM is going to have a hard time marketing the Volt if it comes in around $30,000 as expected (and that’s the low end of the guesses).

17 Unforgiven October 2, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Interesting form. Will wait and see if this becomes a reality or just another broken promise.

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