In its bid to unseat the Prius as hybrid king, Honda is pulling out all the stops with its new Insight - including significantly undercutting its Toyota competitor on pricing.
Honda wants to price the 2010 Honda Insight hybrid below $20,000, which would place it at least $2000 below the 2009 Toyota Prius. Toyota's Prius, which was redesigned for 2010, will be the Insight's biggest direct competitor, and Toyota is more likely to raise prices of its 2010 model than lower them, creating an even bigger price gap. Only time will tell if Honda is making a smart move by offering a baby-Prius, but even its own executives are unsure right now.
Speaking today at the Insight's Japanese launch, Honda's Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo said the company is still reviewing how many vehicles it can sell. Despite the floundering automotive market, the company has a U.S. sales goal of 100,000 units and a worldwide goal of 200,000 units.
In Japan, Honda is asking 1.8 million yen, which converts to about $20,052, for a base model Insight, and 2.1 million yen, or about $23,000, for the highest trim level. The Toyota Prius starts at 2.3 million yen ($25,622). Overseas pricing is difficult for Honda because it builds the Insight only in Japan, which means the yen exchange rate must be taken into account. Honda will consider building the Insight overseas if sales in the U.S. stabilize at or above 100,000 units.
Insight sales begin tomorrow in Japan. It will be available in Europe in March, and will find its way over to the U.S. sometime in April.
Source: Automotive News