Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Honda’s Insight takes on Prius


It took almost 10 years, but Honda may finally have a hybrid hit on its hands this time.

The five-seater Insight went on sale this month in Japan ahead of other markets and orders have already climbed to 15,000, triple the number Honda hoped to sell on average in a month here.

That’s already just 2,000 shy of the total sales for Honda’s first hybrid car, also called Insight, in its seven years on the market from late 1999.  (The two cars share little more than a name.)

First-month orders are always an anomaly in Japan, where the shelf life for “newness” is punishingly brief. But if the Insight’s response is anything like what the second-generation Prius did for Toyota, Honda is in for a big boost to its already-green image.