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Why are the 2 largest automakers so far behind in this area?The Japanese will be on their 3rd or more major improvement by then in this area.Honda Improves Civic Hybrid Engine
Tuesday, July 5, 2005 6:15 AM EDT
The Associated Press
TOKYO (AP) — Honda has developed an improved gas-and-electric engine for the new Civic compact set to go on sale in North America, Japan and Europe this fall, the Japanese automaker said Tuesday.
Honda Motor Co. said a specific mileage estimate for the new hybrid system would not be provided until later this year, but said it's about 5 percent better than current Civic hybrid cars, which delivers about 51 miles per gallon under U.S. highway conditions.
Company officials, briefing reporters at Honda's Tokyo headquarters, also said the new Civic will offer better fuel efficiency than rival Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius, the leading hybrid model.
Hybrids offer better mileage and reduce pollution and global warming by switching between a gas engine and electric motor. Honda officials told reporters at Tokyo headquarters they fine-tuned the system.
Besides the Prius, Toyota has introduced other hybrids and is planning more. Honda already has developed hybrid versions of its Civic and Accord sedans and makes a hybrid called Insight.
Ford Motor Co. has said hybrid versions of its upcoming Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans will be on the road within three years, while General Motors Corp. is planning to introduce a hybrid Chevrolet Malibu in 2008.
Although hybrids represent a tiny portion of auto sales — less than 1 percent of U.S. auto sales last year — their popularity is growing especially as gas prices have soared in recent years.
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