updated 8/13/2008 11:33:43 AM ET 2008-08-13T15:33:43

A top Honda Motor Co. executive said Wednesday the company’s new gas-electric hybrid will be priced lower than the Toyota Prius, its prime competitor.

The new five-door car will only be available with a hybrid powertrain. It will be smaller than Honda’s Civic and also will be priced less than a hybrid gas-electric version of the Civic, said Richard Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co.

Speaking to reporters at an industry seminar in Traverse City, Colliver said the new hybrid will be launched in April 2009.

“We’re targeting sales of 100,000 units of this new vehicle in North America,” he said in a speech at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars.

The Civic hybrid starts at $22,600, while the Prius has a base price of $21,500.

Colliver said Honda wants to make the hybrid affordable to a new generation of buyers, but it is not specifically trying to match Prius sales. Toyota sold more than 181,000 Priuses last year, and so far this year it has sold more than 106,000.

Honda has not released fuel economy figures for its new hybrid. The Prius gets an estimated 45 miles per gallon on the highway and 48 in the city.

Honda, which already has the most fuel-efficient lineup in the U.S., announced in May that it will sell the new hybrid-only Prius competitor in the U.S., Japan and Europe starting in early 2009. It also announced that it will build a new hybrid version of its Fit subcompact, but hasn’t said if it will be sold in North America.

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