Honda's has made its newest entry into the hybrid with its Insight model, which is now going head to head with Toyota's Prius. Honda's new vehicle went on sale in Japan on Friday and will make its way to the U.S. in April.
The Insight is the cheapest hybrid car in the market. It starts at 1.89 million yen or the equivalent to $21,140 Friday.
The Insight is expected to sell below $20,000 in the U.S. compared to the Prius, the current top-selling hybrid, which sells starting from $22,000 in the U.S. and 2.3 million yen in Japan.
A hybrid is any vehicle that combines two or more sources of power that can provide propulsion power. Hybrid cars address the problem of high gas prices and the greenhouse effect but are usually more expensive than a regular car because they have a gasoline engine and an electric motor.
Analysts think demand is shifting for hybrid cars as concerns about global warming increase. In this case, Honda has said the five-door, five-seat Insight was its first true attempt to mass-market hybrid cars.
The firm will attempt to hybridize about one-tenth of its car sales by 2015, according to CEO Takeo Fukui, Reuters noted. The automaker is targeting sales of 200,000 Insights a year globally, 100,000 of them in North America. Still the final price for the U.S. market won't be announced until early April.
Insight has a highway/city mileage of 40/43 miles per gallon or 30 Km per liter, in the United States. This is compared to Prius which has 48/45 miles per gallon.