Honda Motor Co's new CR-Z sporty hybrid went on sale starting Feb. 25 but already, there have been 7,000 orders received in Japan. This figure is more than half of Honda's target of 12,000 units each year in its home market. This many orders mean that there is a three-month waiting time for delivery in Japan.
In the US, the model will arrive at showrooms this summer. The two-seater CR-Z is equipped with a 1.5-liter gasoline engine that's mated to an electric motor, resulting to a fuel economy of 36/38 mpg.
Honda forecasts sales of 15,000 units in North America annually. Meanwhile, in Japan, orders of the CR-Z are rising quickly, coinciding with the slowing down of sales for its predecessor, the Insight five-door hatchback hybrid.
Honda's Suzuka factory in central Japan produces both cars. In Japan last year, Insight sales totaled 93,283 units clearly far ahead of its goal of 60,000. But with the start of 2010, the pace was sluggish.
In the first two months, Honda only sold 6,947 units. In the US, sales are even slower with only 3,321 Insights sold in January and February. For the same period, its main rival, the Toyota Prius, racked up sales of 16,452 units, despite the recalls over an antilock braking defect.