Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, a dramatic sports concept version of Honda’s new Civic is being mooted to help the Japanese firm persuade the corporate sector to include hybrids on choice lists.
Honda UK corporate sales director Stephen Hollings said: ‘We’re just about to begin a major campaign to launch our new hybrid car to fleets and this concept couldn’t have come at a better time.
‘I’d love to show it to the people we’ll be seeing because it’s so successful in making the point that hybrids can be dynamic as well as good for the environment. We’re enthusiastic about the possibility of putting it on sale and want to enter discussions with officials in Japan.’
He added: ‘There is a view in the company that hybrids should be given some oomph now that people are more attuned to the technology.’
Based on the petrol-electric car that is due to be launched next spring, the concept has lowered suspension, stands on 18-inch alloy wheels and has all-disc braking. Bodywork changes include a carbon fibre grille, big bumpers with spoilers and deep side skirting.
Inside, it has sports seats and uses aluminium for the steering wheel and transmission selector lever. Research design chief Takeshi Yamaguchi said: ‘Hybrids have a distinct meaning that doesn’t include being sporty and we’d like to change all that. We made this car so we can check reaction from the public.’
Hollings added: ‘Our old Civic IMA is already on the fleet lists of more than 130 firms in London because it is exempt from congestion charging and we expect this number to double over the next two years with our new car.
‘Extending the charging area boundary to Earls Court effectively increases our catchment area by up to 40%, so we will be actively targeting new fleets.’