Honda Launches Refreshed Fit and New Fit Hybrid in Japan, Receives 10,000 Orders for Gas-Electric Model

Honda on Friday introduced the Japanese domestic market version of its new Fit (Jazz in Europe) Hybrid alongside the regular Fit model, which benefits from a minor cosmetic refresh and equipment upgrades for the 2011 model year.

The company's head of domestic sales, Hiroshi Kobayashi said Honda has already received 10,000 orders for the Fit Hybrid, which was given its world premiere at last week's Paris Motor Show.

The newly-added Fit Hybrid will be offered locally at the starting price of 1.59 million yen (about US$19,300 at today's exchange rates), making it the most affordable gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle in Japan.

Honda said the JDM version of the hybrid model has a fuel economy of 30km/liter [equal to 3.3 lt/100km or 70.6 mpg US] under the Japanese highway test system.

The car, which makes use of the same IMA system with a 1.3 liter i-VTEC engine as the Insight Hybrid, will go on sale in certain European markets from early 2011 as the Jazz Hybrid. According to the Japanese automaker, the Jazz Hybrid's fuel economy is estimated at 4.4 lt/100km [53.5 mpg US] in the combined European cycle. Honda has not yet said if and when it will offer a Fit Hybrid for the North American market.

The new Fit Hybrid is joined in Japan by a subtly refreshed version of the regular gasoline-powered Fit with a 1.3-liter engine. The modest facelift is limited to new grille and bumper (front and rear) designs which are said to help improve the car's aerodynamic efficiency, plus revised tail lamps and updated interior trims.