TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co. has racked up 7,000 orders in Japan for its new CR-Z sporty hybrid, which went on sale here Feb. 25 and goes on sale in Europe and the United States this summer.
The tally is more than half Honda's annual sales target of 12,000 units in Japan. Customers must now wait about three months for delivery in the car's home market.
The CR-Z mates a 1.5-liter gasoline engine to an electric motor for fuel economy of 36/38 mpg (6.5 to 6.2 liters per 100km). Honda expects to sell 15,000 units of the roadster in North America annually.
In Japan, orders of the CR-Z are picking up just as sales are slowing for its forerunner, the Insight five-door hatchback hybrid. Both cars are made at Honda's Suzuka factory in central Japan.
Insight sales hit 93,283 units in Japan last year, easily beating Honda's goal of 60,000. But the pace has slowed in 2010, with Honda moving 6,947 units in the first two months.
The Insight's performance in the United States has been even more anemic.
Honda sold 3,321 units in the first two months. Its main rival, the Toyota Prius, reached sales of 16,452 units in that period, despite being hit by a recall to fix an antilock braking glitch.