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Next Wave of Japanese Hybrids Coming to US

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The number of hybrid gas-electric vehicles offered by Japanese car companies will multiply in the next few years. That’s evidenced by a list of upcoming hybrids reported by the trade publication Automotive News this week—providing a plausible scenario for specific hybrid models coming to the United States around 2011.

We’re not talking about novel concept cars with limited chances of becoming production vehicles. The list is comprised of real and practical mass-produced vehicles to be offered with fuel-efficient hybrid drivetrains. The new hybrids would fill in gaps not previously offered in the hybrid market, such as a gas-electric minivan, subcompact, and pickup truck. Japanese carmakers usually wait to confirm product plans until soon before the release date, so few models are described in Automotive News as a sure thing. But the need to meet higher fuel efficiency standards starting in 2011 increases the likelihood of each proposed model.



Honda discontinued the six-cylinder performance-oriented Honda Accord Hybrid in 2007. It will be brought back, hopefully this time with a focus on efficiency, as early as the 2011 model year. Honda canceled plans for diesel versions of the Accord and the Odyssey minivan, but Automotive News hints that a hybrid Odyssey could happen with the minivan’s redesign for 2011. The previously announced small and sporty CR-Z hybrid will go on sale in spring 2010. Honda is also talking about an all-electric subcompact—but that’s way off into the future, around 2015.

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