Honda will unveil in September at the Paris Motor Show a concept version of its forthcoming small global hybrid. Production version will follow in spring 2009. The new model will be smaller than both the Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius and, at an estimated sticker price of €16,000 to €20,000, will beat both on cost.

Honda has said the still-unnamed model was designed and engineered as a hybrid from the ground up. As such, the company says, it will be better packaged and more efficient than vehicles that have been re-engineered to incorporate hybrid elements.

Honda is planning initial production of 200,000 units a year, half of which will go to North America. About 50,000 are likely to come to Europe, where hybrids have been a tough sell.

The new Honda will use an updated version of the automaker’s Intelligent Motor Assist system, which powers the Civic Hybrid. This so-called " mild" hybrid system has an electric motor that assists the gasoline engine with acceleration and provides regenerative braking to recharge the batteries.

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Source: Automotive News

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