Nevermind that we don’t understand a single word of this commercial; the new Honda CR-Z is getting prepped for its initial marketing blitz in Japan with a set of new commercials that promotes Honda’s new hybrid car.
In typical Japanese fashion, the commercials border on the quirky side with a touch of high imagination. Then again, we kind of figured that the CR-Z doesn’t really need that much promotion in its native land, especially when news broke out that orders for the CR-Z have already reached 10,000 units in just its first month.
But as they say, you can never have enough promotion for a new product, especially when you have the resources to do so.
Hey America, how do you like them Honda CR-Z’s now!
We remember a few weeks ago a report coming out that US Honda dealerships didn’t want a part of the CR-Z because they felt that it wouldn’t be a hit among its US customers. Well, the folks from Japan seem to have fallen in love with CR-Z after a Wall Street Journal report said that orders for the hybrid car are going at such a rapid pace it’s now ten times higher than what the company expected. Initially pegging sales of 1,000 models a month, Honda is now poised to exceed 10,000 orders for the CR-Z in its native land in just its first month.
Some people attribute that the sudden interest in Honda hybrids can be attributed to growing public discontent surrounding its chief rival – and largest hybrid maker in the world – Toyota.
According to Chris Richter, an automotive analyst at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, "If Honda can gain sales; they are going to promote the brand at the expense of Toyota. They are not blind to the situation.”
See, America. The CR-Z isn’t such a bad car after all. Besides, at this point, would you feel any safer inside a Prius than you would with a brand-new CR-Z?
For the CR-Z, the tuner is offering modifications for the exhaust system and the suspension as well as styling upgrades. The Hypermax III coilovers are usually used on high-performance racing machines, but in combination with Advan Racing forged wheels they make from the CR-Z a car suited for any driving situation.
We do not known if they will also offer engine upgrades, but we can hope, no?
Despite the rather cold reception the Honda CR-Z got from US Honda dealers, the sports hybrid is certainly having no problems selling in their local market of Japan.
It was recently reported that the CR-Z already has 7,000 orders in place in Japan, a pretty eye-opening number, given the fact that the car only went on sale a few weeks ago – February 25, to be exact.
The numbers are already surprising by themselves, but it’s even more astonishing because Honda’s annual target of 12,000 units has already reached the halfway point – and a little more – in a little less than three weeks. As a result of the surprisingly immense interest in the car, customers who have already made prior orders will still have to wait at least three months to be able to bring their new sports hybrid car back to their respective homes.
Come to think of it, the success of the CR-Z in Japan shouldn’t be all that surprising so what Honda is looking at now is adding a few more thousand CR-Zs that are headed to the US sometime in the near future.
We don’t exactly see the car itself but apparently, this is the first customized Honda CR-Z being given a serious shakedown in its first testing session at the Suzuka racing circuit in Japan. The whole five-minute-plus video shows a test driver going through the rings in Suzuka on-board the CR-Z.
The CR-Z is powered by an IMA hybrid system made up of a 1.5 Liter gas burning engine combined with an electric motor that provides an additional 14 HP for a grand total of 124 HP and 131 lb-ft of torque.
The CR-Z is expected to be on sale sometime in the latter part of the year so we’re going to have to wait a little longer to get on-board the car and see first-hand what it’s really made of. Until then, this video is the best we can do - for now.
You may remember the Honda CR-Z hybrid when it made an appearance last January at the Detroit Auto Show?
Well, even if the car is not on sale yet, Mugen is nevertheless preparing a new customization program that should - at least in theory - make the car look better than it already is despite the engine remaining relatively unchanged.
Among the new exterior modifications the CR-Z hybrid is expected to come in includes an exterior package highlighted by front and rear aprons, a large roof-mounted wing, side skirts, rear diffuser, a new grille with LED daytime running lights and a variety of 17-inch alloy wheel designs.
The CR-Z hybrid’s interior also gets a modification of its own courtesy of a new carbon fiber mirror, unique gear lever knobs and floor mats.
After we have seen the Honda CR-Z at the 2010 Detroit auto show, we have another good new for you. The Japanese company is also preparing a Type-R version of the hybrid car and it will be launched in 2011.
The Type R version will be defined by daytime running lights in the front apron and a black rear diffuser with integrated exhaust pipes, black bonnet, wing mirrors and wheels and an alpine-white paint scheme on the rest of the car.
While the standard CR-Z develops a total of 122 hp, the Type-R version will go up to 200hp. This will be possible thanks to a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine that will develop a total of 150 hp and a larger 50bhp electric motor. The result will be a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds and a top speed of 140mph.
The Cr-Z Type-R will debut next year at the Tokyo Auto Show and will go on sale shortly after.
A new trailer for Honda’s new promotional campaign, “Live Every Litre” has been released and the search is on for the lucky few that can not only be part of the documentary/movie, but also be one of the first in the world to ever drive the Honda CR-Z.
The “Live Every Litre” project is a collaboration between Honda and Cludio Von Planta, a Swiss filmmaker responsible for, among other things, the ‘Long Way Round’ and ‘Long Way Down’ motorcycle series’, which starred Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman.
The whole gist of the “Live Every Litre” project is that Honda wants to have ordinary citizens go on their very own roadtrip in a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ kind of way while driving the CR-Z wherever he decides to go. For their part, Von Planta and the rest of his crew will film the whole road trip in its entirety before editing all the footage to make into a feature-length film.
The journey will begin before the Honda CR-Z makes its market debut in Europe – around May – and will take the lucky driver on a European road trip on-board the world’s first six-speed manual hybrid.
Check out the trailer of the “Live Every Litre” project and find out how you can join the contest to drive the CR-Z on a European road trip of a lifetime.
Just yesterday we brought you what looked like a sales brochure for the upcoming Honda CR-Z confirming that the Japanese automaker was seriously considering a production version of the stylish gas/electric hybrid coupe for the near future. However one very tantalizing page that was missing has suddenly surfaced with a CR-Z tuned by Honda’s in house tuner, Mugen.
From the looks of things the "unlimited" kit brings a more aggressive big mouth front bumper complete with a race car inspired splitter, lower hanging side skirts, and a new rear bumper to complete the hybrid advanced sports ground effects package. At the top of the hatch rests a downforce inducing rear wing and Mugen has seen fit to equip the tuned CR-Z with their signature 17 inch alloy wheels at all four corners. It’s a pleasant surprise that despite the global trend towards greener vehicles that the major automakers have left some room for a little fun.
It’s no secret that the Japanese automaker Honda is planning to bring a production version of the CR-Z Concept that was unveiled back in 2007 at the Tokyo Auto Salon to market. Thanks to the information super highway we now have our own bootleg version of the upcoming hybrid Honda’s sales brochure confirming that the debut of the 2010 Honda CR-Z Hybrid Coupe shouldn’t be too far off. With gas prices awaiting an inevitable rise and a shift towards premium compact and hybrid vehicles, Honda is going to be faced with the same struggle as the Ford Fiesta when the CR-Z comes to market. The gas/electric hybrid CR-Z Coupe will be powered by the combination of a 1.5 Liter four cylinder internal combustion engine and an electric motor to provide a combined total of 126 HP and will be mated to a gas sipping six speed manual transmission.
Sales in Japan are slated to begin in February of 2010, but until then check out the gallery below.