Honda plans Fit-based crossover, report says
TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co. has a few tricks up its sleeve for the third-generation Fit/Jazz due to launch next year.
Honda has said the Fit will pioneer an r&d strategy in which global nameplates will break from a one-size-fits-all approach and be developed and built regionally.
Honda also apparently plans a Fit-based SUV/crossover to help it sell more than 1 million vehicles off the new platform, Japan's Nikkei business daily reported.
The crossover mainly will target the United States and Europe, where the Fit is sold as the Jazz, and global volume could reach 400,000 units, the report says.
When asked about adding a small SUV/crossover to the lineup, Honda Europe President Manabu Nishimae told Automotive News Europe earlier this year, "We are always keeping an eye on growing segments. We are keen to develop models for those segments and to expand in those areas."
European sales of small SUVs grew 43 percent to 229,726 last year from 160,280 in 2010, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics.
If the model is approved, a U.S. version will likely be built at a factory Honda plans to open in 2014 in Mexico. That factory is slated to make the Fit hatchback.
Honda makes the Jazz in Swindon, England, where it is looking to boost capacity to reduce the company's exposure to the euro/yen exchange rate.
Japan already gets a tall-wagon Fit variant, called the Freed. That model comes in an eight-seat version, but that kind of load can strain its 1.5-liter engine.
Douglas A. Bolduc contributed to this report
You can reach Hans Greimel at email@example.com. -- Follow Hans on