From: Associated Press
Published July 5, 2005 12:00 AM

Honda Develops Improved Hybrid System for New Civic

TOKYO — 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.

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.

Source: Associated Press

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