Takeo Fukui
Katsumi Kasahara  /  AP Photo
Takeo Fukui, chief executive of Honda Motor Co., is seen announcing the automaker's new mid-term business strategy in Tokyo Thursday.
updated 7/15/2004 10:53:34 AM ET 2004-07-15T14:53:34

Honda Motor Co. will start selling a lower-priced car targeting young people in North American starting in 2006, a market that the Japanese automaker sees as key to continued growth, chief executive Takeo Fukui said Thursday.

The "entry-level car" will be priced lower than the Civic compact, which starts at about $13,000, to respond to growing demand for cheaper models, Fukui told reporters at Tokyo headquarters. He declined to give details.

"The North American market remains crucial for Honda," Fukui said.

He said Honda will also introduce other models in the United States, including a remodeled Odyssey minivan this fall and the Honda SUT sport-utility pickup in spring 2005.

Honda will also strengthen its offerings with better mileage as it expects the need for fuel-efficient models to grow with the recent surge in gas prices in North America. Such models include the Accord hybrid planned for this fall, the company said.

Hybrids generally offer better mileage than regular cars by switching back and forth between a gasoline engine and an electric motor.

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