Honda Has 10x More Orders for CR-Z Hybrids Than Expected

honda cr-z hybrid photo

Photo: Michael Graham Richard
But the Fuel Economy of the CR-Z is Still Disappointing
The people at Honda now have another reason to celebrate. The first one was Toyota's problems, which drove a lot of car buyers into the open arms of its smaller rival, and the second reason has to do with the numbers of orders for the new CR-Z hybrid in Japan; after a month, orders exceeded 10,000, or about 10x more than the monthly target of 1,000. In just a month it has almost reached its yearly domestic goal of 12,000 units.
honda cr-z hybrid photo

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

According to the WSJ: "Japan's second-largest car maker plans to introduce the model in the U.S. and Europe after June, with a combined annual sales target of 40,000 to 50,000 in the three markets." No doubt the global targets will be changed and the production targets will also be bumped up (unless it turns out that the CR-Z is only popular in Japan and doesn't sell elsewhere). There's always a spike when a new product launches, but 10x the monthly target is still a lot.

Where Did the Honda Fuel Economy Magic Go?
But what bugs me about this is that the CR-Z - at least on paper - seems like a waste of a good opportunity. If you think about a small, aerodynamic two-seater hybrid car by Honda, you probably expect MPG to be really impressive. At least as good as the bigger and heavier Prius.

But the reality (as you can see in the photo above, which is a shot of the teleprompter during a speech introducing the CR-Z in Detroit) is that the CR-Z gets worse fuel economy than the much bigger Ford Fusion hybrid (41 city/36 highway/39 combined).

As I wrote last time:

The engine is a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder i-VTEC combined with a 10 kW brushless electric motor powered by a 100-volt IMA nickel-metal hydride battery pack. This is the sixth version of Honda's IMA hybrid system since the original Insight in 1999.

The combined power of the gas engine and electric motor is 122 HP at 6,000 rpm and 128 lb-ft. of torque at 1,000 to 1,500 rpm (123 lb-ft on CVT-equipped models). Emissions are AT-PZEV/Tier 2 Bin 2.

It's going to be available either with a 6-speed manual transmission or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). (source)

These specs aren't very impressive. Maybe the CR-Z is fun to drive, and AT-PZEV emissions are definitely great, but when it comes to CO2 emissions, it can only be described as a letdown.

See also: 2010 Detroit Auto Show: Honda CR-Z Hybrid Coupe Unveiled (Come On, Honda, You Can Do Better)

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