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Honda CEO wants to accelerate hybrid rollout

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New Honda CEO wants to accelerate hybrid rollout

TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co's new chief executive said on Monday (July 13) that Japan's No.2 automaker would speed up the rollout of its hybrid cars as he aims to steer a nimble company that reacts more quickly to changing customer needs.

In his first public appearance after taking office last month, Takanobu Ito said Honda would launch the planned CR-Z hybrid sports car next February and a gasoline-electric Fit subcompact by the end of 2010, citing the growing importance buyers place on fuel economy and environmental considerations.

"I think everyone is going to go the way of hybrids," the 55-year-old former engineer told a media gathering at Honda's headquarters in Tokyo.

"Bringing hybrids quickly to customers will be a major focus of our activities," he said.

"I want Honda to be a speedy company."

That would include accelerating the development of a new type of hybrid system with two electric motors to be mounted on medium- to large-sized vehicles, he said, after Honda shelved its plan to use clean diesel engines to improve mileage on bigger models.

Ito declined to say when the new hybrid system would be ready.

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