An 'Insight'ful First Year...

Real-World Experience with Gas-Electric Hybrid Technology Proves To Be Successful

4/17/2001 4:38:40 PM

How would you rate Honda's experience with the Insight so far?

Since its introduction in 1999, the Honda Insight has captured America's imagination, causing many to rethink what is possible in automotive technology. Honda is encouraged by the enthusiasm and interest by American drivers to purchase cars with advanced, environmental technology.

American drivers have so far been reluctant to buy cars with powertrains that use new environmental technologies. How have customers responded to this new technology?

The Insight has demonstrated that the key to winning over customers to new, cleaner technologies is to also meet their needs for performance, reliability, safety, and fun - and all at an affordable price. And the Insight holds this important key.

How do you respond to critics who point to the Insight's small sales numbers as being 'insignificant' in making a meaningful contribution to clean air goals?

The market for two-seat, commuter vehicles is admittedly-limited - we knew that we would not set the world on fire with the Insight's initial sales volume. However, the [MY2000] Insight stands as a statement of Honda's technological muscle and intent, and is a vehicle for the record books with the highest-ever gasoline fuel economy rating from EPA [61-mpg in city driving; 70-mpg on the highway].

Is the Insight a novelty or mere marketing ploy for Honda's 'environmental halo,' or is it a 'real' car?'

The Insight truly represents "the power of dreams" - as our company's founder, the late Soichiro Honda, said, "An idea is nothing if it isn't put into action immediately. That is what makes for progress." As the first gasoline-electric hybrid on sale in the U.S., the Insight has, perhaps most importantly, helped move the entire automobile industry's priorities toward better fuel economy and improved environmental performance. Most, if not all, manufacturers have recently announced their new plans to build hybrids in the future.

So, does widespread adoption of hybrid technology hold promise for solving our nation's air quality problems?

The Insight is one more step of many Honda has already taken to reduce the impact of the automobile on the environment. It represents Honda's commitment to develop real-world, market-ready solutions to meet this challenge.

And how does the Insight address the issue of global warming?

The Insight also represents a great balance between the competing goals of air quality improvement (smog reduction) and global warming countermeasures (reduced C02 output/mile). Our valuable experience with the Insight demonstrates that both air quality and climate change goals can be met and exceeded using not just hybrid technology, but also a mixture of commercially-proven technologies like the SULEV Accords, which are in their second year of sales in California, and emerging technologies, including natural gas, and eventually, fuel cells.

What's next for hybrids from Honda?

In the Spring of this year, Honda will introduce an Insight model with 'Continuously Variable Transmission' that will further increase the car's appeal by removing the need to manually shift gears. In the near future, we will also be introducing our hybrid technology to the Civic, the best-selling small car in the U.S., as well as other mass-market Honda models at a later date. This expansion reflects both Honda's environmental commitment and our sense that consumers are ready for this new technology.