Honda is launching its answer to the Prius Alpha (Prius V in the US) in June – the Fit Shuttle Hybrid. The underpinnings are from the popular Honda Fit, and the price is a very reasonable 1.81 million Yen. It retains the 5-seat design of the Fit, but adds extra space in the load-carrying area.
Honda was going to be launching this model on March 18th, but made the snap decision to postpone the launch following parts shortages caused by the earthquake one week prior to the launch date. The power supply shortages in the area supplied by troubled power company TEPCO also forced Honda to move production from Saitama to Suzuka in the central area of Japan.
The Fit Shuttle Hybrid comes in at 1.81 million Yen, which is only 200,000 Yen more than the price of the basic ICE version of the car. However, it is substantially cheaper than the most inexpensive Prius Alpha, which starts from 2.35 million Yen. The Shuttle Hybrid manages a respectable 30 km / liter, which is only 1 km / liter shy of the Prius Alpha’s equivalent figure.
With the Fit already sitting at the head of the sales charts, I suspect that the Prius Alpha is going to find it hard to compete when there is such a big disparity in price, but not performance. Unless you want a 7-seater, it will be hard to make a good argument for the Prius Alpha and, on top of that, Toyota already has pre-launch orders for the Prius Alpha backed up to the end of the year.
Delaying the launch to shift production to Suzuka may have been a masterstroke on Honda’s part to capture market share.leave a response, trackback from your own site