Honda dealers can now resume orders for the Fit and Insight as the carmaker is working quickly to fill the U.S. inventory that was disrupted as a result of the Japan disaster.
John Mendel, the executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., said that Honda has “turned the corner” from the effects of the earthquake on its output. Mendel also urged dealers to become “aggressive” in advertising and selling its products.
In a memo sent to Honda’s retailers, Mendel said that by the end of summer, Honda's manufacturing operations in Japan are expected to reach nearly normal levels.
Mendel also stated that Honda’s next allocation includes the fuel-economic Fit and Insight. He explained further that this move stands for a significant improvement when compared to the recovery timetable that the company presented in May. A parts shortage in Japan prompted Honda to stop taking orders for its Fit and Insight models.
However, Honda has not stopped the delivery of these models; however, these were for orders before the earthquake. This year, the rising fuel prices have raised the demand in the U.S. for smaller, fuel-efficient cars and light trucks.
This has upped the pressure on Honda and other carmakers to quickly restore its stock. Mendel said that the first models to return to normal output levels are Pilot, Odyssey and CR-V.
One quick look and it is clear that the 2010 Honda Insight has everything that consumers want and expect from the brand. These include having space enough for five passengers and a low center of gravity which leads to a versatile and roomy interior space and a unique driving experience. The reason for this is that the 2010 Insight makes use of the aerodynamic and advanced design of the five-door sedan. This design was first seen on the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell car. The 2010 Insight will also have the brand’s newest version of the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology.
In addition, by using production techniques that are considered cost-efficient, this makes the 2010 Insight set the stage for hybrid technology to advance even further. This new offering from Honda is expected to be a vehicle that will have a fun-to-drive performance but will have U.S. EPA fuel economy ratings of 40 mpg for city and 43 mpg for highway.
It also brings a level of affordability not seen before as the price is expected to be lower than that of the Civic Hybrid. Customers can expect the 2010 Insight to arrive at their favorite U.S. Honda dealers starting April 2009. American Honda executive vice-president John Mendel shared that hybrid vehicles from Honda have long been known to have high fuel economy, offer the right amount of fun, and deliver great value. They are also within the Honda lineup’s middle price range, he added.
With the release of the 2010 Insight, the company is offering a vehicle that is fun to drive and equipped with fuel-efficient and versatile hybrid technology to a new group of consumers, those who have not considered buying a hybrid due to cost or image considerations, he continued.
The IMA system inside the 2010 Insight uses an electric motor capable of 10 kW (13 hp) and a compact Intelligent Power Unit or IPU. What this system does is to take back the kinetic energy that is used during deceleration or braking and then store it in order for it to be used later should extra power be needed for acceleration. Since the IMA system and the IPU have been placed under the floor of the rear portion of the 2010 Insight, this helps with practicality as it allows for a 60/40 split and the seat back in the rear to be folded down.
What’s more, the IMA system is able to run even on just electric power, though this is limited to specific driving conditions at low-speed up to mid-speed. This same system can deactivate the cylinder inside the gas engine when the vehicle decelerates. It can also shut down the engine when the vehicle has been stopped.
Using a fuel tank measuring 10.6 gallons, the maximum driving range of the 2010 Insight is at least 400 miles. For those who can get their hands on the 2010 Insight, they will get the opportunity to experience the full range of advantages that the brand’s hybrid technology has to offer. The 2010 Insight will also be equipped with the Ecological Drive Assist System, or Eco Assist, which is a fuel economy driver-focused enhancement technology which combines a number of different functions.
There is for instance the ECON mode, which is activated by the driver. What this does is to enhance the fuel economy even further by optimizing the control of the engine, the continuously variable automatic transmission, and other associated powertrain components. It has what is referred to as a driver feedback function wherein an advanced speedometer shows real-time assistance to its driver when getting higher fuel efficiency and it does this by changing the colors of the background. Then there is the distinct fuel-economy scoring function which utilizes a plant-leaf graphic to give the driver feedback on the driving efficiency of the current journey as well as the lifetime fuel-efficient driving performance. All 2010 Insight version will be equipped with the aluminum-alloy SOHC 1.3-liter i-VTEC engine and CVT.
It will also have the IMA hybrid system which guarantees excellent fuel economy and offers an enjoyable driving performance. There are various safety features fitted inside to make sure that every travel is worry free. Examples include the front-side airbags with the Occupant Position Detection System on the passenger-side, dual-threshold and dual-stage airbags on the front, and the side curtain airbag system. It has anti-lock brakes equipped with electronic brake distribution.
The driver and the front-passenger seats have active head restraints while the front part of the body was designed in a way that would lessen pedestrian injuries. Another feature in the 2010 Insight is that it will have the brand’s very own Advanced Compatibility Engineering, or ACE, body structure. This body structure helps in enhancing the crash compatibility of vehicles with varying ride heights or sizes. As a result, during frontal collisions, it greatly improves the protection offered to the occupants inside and at the same time it lowers the risk of injury to the occupants of the opposing vehicle.