Japan's auto giant Honda Motor president
Yoshikazu Tsuno  /  AFP - Getty Images
Honda president Takeo Fukui introduces the new model of Civic Hybrid Thursday. The car is equipped with a 1.3-liter gas-electric motor hybrid engine to achieve ultra low emissions.
updated 9/22/2005 8:01:19 AM ET 2005-09-22T12:01:19

Honda Motor Co. on Thursday unveiled a new hybrid Civic, powered by a gasoline-electric engine, that it hopes will get attention from drivers fed up with surging gasoline prices.

The new hybrid model is about 280,000 yen, or $2,500, more expensive than a revamped gasoline-powered model that Honda also rolled out Thursday which runs about 2.1 million yen in Japan, or $18,900.

Honda, Japan’s third-largest carmaker, first introduced a hybrid Civic in December 2001.

While President Takeo Fukui conceded that the added expense is still a turn-off for consumers, the company forecasts unit sales of the new Civic hybrid to climb to 40,000 cars annually around the world, up 50 percent from the current hybrid model.

“Unless (the gap) narrows to about 200,000 yen ($1,800), it will be difficult to have full-fledged growth,” Fukui said.

The new Civic hybrid will be sold first in Japan, and later this year or early next year in North America and Europe.

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