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Honda sells its millionth hybrid, sits in Toyota's rear-view mirror for now

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
October 16, 2012

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Honda's hybrid cars just haven't achieved the same cachet as Toyota's without a poster child like the Prius to drive demand. Nonetheless, the automaker has something to crow about with word that it has sold over a million hybrids worldwide as of the end of September. The milestone comes almost 13 years after the first Japan-bound Insight changed hands in November 1999, and after a significant expansion that includes more specialized cars like the CR-Z coupe you see here. Americans represent almost a third of the total at 318,000 vehicles that are split mostly between the Insight and the Civic Hybrid. Hitting seven digits gives Honda some eco-friendly credibility in a crowded field, although the firm might not want to brag too loudly: Toyota has sold four times as many to date and expects to sell one million hybrids just in 2012.

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Worldwide Sales of Honda Hybrid Vehicles Reach One Million Units

10/14/2012 - TOKYO

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced that cumulative worldwide sales of its hybrid vehicles surpassed one million units as of the end of September 2012. This milestone was reached 12 years and 11 months after the start of sales of the first generation Honda Insight in Japan on November 1999, which achieved a fuel economy rating of 35km/liter1, then rated as the world's most fuel efficient vehicle among all mass-production gasoline-powered vehicles.

Honda began hybrid vehicle sales in U.S. in 1999 with the 2000 Honda Insight – the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle sold in America. Cumulative sales of Honda hybrid vehicles in the U.S. market have now reached over 318,000 units, predominately sales of the Insight and Civic Hybrid.

Capitalizing on the unique features of Honda's original lightweight and compact IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid system, Honda has been enhancing its hybrid vehicle lineup and currently sells eight hybrid models in approximately 50 countries around the world, including four distinct models in the U.S.

In May 2012, Honda began to produce hybrid models in regions outside of Japan starting with the Acura ILX Hybrid2 in the U.S., followed by production of the Jazz (Fit) Hybrid in Thailand. Honda will also begin production of the Jazz Hybrid in Malaysia at the end of October in an effort to deliver hybrid vehicles with speed, affordability and low CO2 emissions for customers in Asia where demand for fuel-efficient vehicles is expected to grow in the future.

In addition to further advancing the current hybrid model offerings equipped with the one-motor IMA hybrid system, Honda is introducing new hybrid systems for mid-size models that will be equipped with a two-motor hybrid system. Additionally, a highly-efficient and high-output three-motor hybrid system, the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® (Super Handling All Wheel Drive), offering both superior dynamic handling and fuel efficiency, will be applied to the Acura NSX and RLX Sport Hybrid model, as well as the successor model of the Legend, scheduled to be introduced in Japan.

Under the global environmental slogan of "Blue Skies for Our Children," Honda will continue its efforts to further market penetration of hybrid vehicles to realize a low carbon society.

History of Honda's Hybrid Models

Month / Model introduced to the market

Honda's Cumulative
Worldwide Hybrid Vehicle


November: First generation Insight


December: Civic Hybrid


December: Accord Hybrid (North America only)


April: 100,000 units


May: 200,000 units


February: Second generation Insight

August: 400,000 units


February: CR-Z
October: Fit Hybrid

December: 600,000 units


June: Fit Shuttle Hybrid (Japan only)
October: Freed Hybrid (Japan only)
Freed Spike Hybrid (Japan only)

December: 800,000 units


May: Acura ILX Hybrid (USA, Canada only)

September: 1000,000 units

1Measured in 10・15 mode with a 5-speed MT vehicle; roughly 82 m.p.g.
2Honda products are produced using domestic and globally sourced parts.

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