Fleet News

Aggressive campaign for Honda hybrid

Honda will target the ‘eco’ versions of cars such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf when it launches its new Insight hybrid model early next year.

Rather than market the five-door hatchback against its natural rival – Toyota’s Prius hybrid – Honda’s corporate sales team wants to steal sales away from the Focus ECOnetic and Golf BlueMotion ranges.

The Insight is due to go on sale in the UK in March with a likely price tag of between £14,000 and £15,000, placing it between the Jazz supermini and Civic lower-medium hatchback.

It will sit in the range alongside the existing Civic IMA hybrid model, which costs from £17,000.

Within the next two to three years, a hybrid version of the Jazz supermini will also be launched, and the CR-Z hybrid sports car will arrive a year later.

Graham Avent, manager – corporate operations at Honda UK, said: “Fleets are already in contact with me about this car.

"They want to know pricing because they want to offer it to their drivers.

“The Insight offers a win-win situation – it will emit less than 110g/km of CO2 so it will fall into the lowest benefit-in-kind tax band for drivers, while for companies it attracts 100% writing down allowance because it is a hybrid.

“In the current economic climate, drivers are looking to lower their tax bills, so having a family car which falls into the 10% BIK band is a real bonus.”

Honda expects to sell 10,000 Insights a year in the UK, with 60% of sales being to corporate buyers.

Mr Avent added: “This car is giving me a really nice headache.

"There’s going to be very high demand and short supply – it wouldn’t surprise me if residuals hit the 50% mark, which will help with lease rates.

“This is the most significant car we have launched in the past decade.”

Economy drive

The Insight hybrid will ‘train’ drivers in how to drive in a more economical way.
Dubbed ‘ecological drive assist system’, the car helps drivers adopt more fuel efficient driving styles by altering the colour of the speedometer and scoring them by rewarding good driving with a digital tree leaf.

The system displays journey and historic trip data. The system is based on the Tamagotchi digital pet toys, which flourish if looked after and die if not cared for.

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