Honda has launched an all-new 2012 Civic Hybrid that gets a reported 44/44/44 mpg (city/ highway/combined) but the Civic Hybrid still isn’t able to beat the best-selling Toyota Prius with its 51/48/50 mpg.
Honda is trying to improve its hybrid models, which have failed to compete with the Prius and other competitors hybrids. You may recall that Honda was the first to bring a electric-gasoline car to the US with the small Insight. Over a decade later and Honda is still struggling to beat Toyota.
Honda’s latest effort to improve its hybrid’s fuel economy numbers is by using lithium-ion batteries instead of the old, heavier nickel-metal hydride batteries. The new lithium-ion battery pack in the 2012 Civic Hybrid weighs 48.5 pounds compared to the old battery that weighed 69 pounds. This has helped improve the Civic Hybrid’s rating, which used to be 40/ 43 mpg.
Even with the slight improvement, sales still lag behind the Prius. The new battery pack is more expensive and the Civic Hybrid now starts $100 more than the last-generation at $24,800. This compares to the Prius, which has a base price starting at $22,800.
Sales of the 2012 Civic Hybrid kicked off in April, but due to the earthquake in Japan, supplies have been low. Through the end of May, Honda reported selling only 389 units, which seems quite low, even with the limited availability. The hybrid’s sales only accounted for one percent of all Civic sales. in 2010 the Civic hybrid accounted for three percent of all Civic sales.
It may be a little early to tell, but it looks like the Civic Hybrid isn’t going to put a dent in the Prius sales anytime soon…
Full Story: Automotive News