Honda Motor Co. is not optimistic about meeting its 2009 sales goal for the Insight hybrid vehicle in the United States, according to an executive at the automaker, Bloomberg reported Monday.
Given some dramatic change in things, I don't think we'll get to 90,000. At 50,000 to 60,000, we will be just fine, said John Mendel, the company's U.S. executive vice president. The figure represents a 33 percent decline.
The dramatic change would be a combination of different factors including lower gasoline prices, which have dropped 35 percent over the past year, according to Bloomberg. The economic downturn and competition from Toyota with its hybrid Prius have also weakened Insight sales since it went on sale on March 24 in the U.S.
Mendel said he expects demand for the Insight to recover later in the year as the economyâ€™s recession eases and fuel prices climb. He also said June sales could be 4,000 Insights compared to 2,098 in May, according to Bloomberg.
A Honda spokesman in Tokyo said the company hasn't changed its sales forecast, Reuters noted. The annual global sales goal from Honda is 200,000 Insight vehicles, with expectations that half of them will be sold in North America, Reuters reports.