PARIS -- Honda said it remains committed to hybrids in Europe and will import a gasoline-electric hybrid version of its next Jazz subcompact in 2016, a year after the conventionally-powered new Jazz goes on sale.
Along with Toyota, Honda was an early pioneer of hybrids in Europe, but the automaker has not been as successful as Toyota. European sales of the Jazz hybrid were 4,500 last year, according to figures from JATO Dynamics. Toyota sold almost 50,000 units of the Yaris subcompact last year.
Honda has stopped selling its CR-Z coupe and Insight five-door hatchback gasoline-electric hybrids in Europe because of slow sales.
"There is no obituary on hybrids," Honda Motor Europe head of sales Philip Ross told Automotive News Europe on the sidelines of the Paris auto show. "Our focus at the moment is on our 1.6-liter diesel but we haven't forgotten about hybrid technology."
Honda will launch its latest generation Jazz with conventional engines in Europe next summer. The company displayed a near-production Jazz concept in Paris.
Honda said it expects the new Jazz hybrid to have CO2 emissions below 100 grams per km in the European driving cycle, addressing a problem with the current Jazz hybrid, which has CO2 emissions of 104g/km of CO2 compared to the Yaris hybrid's 79g/km. Cars with CO2 emissions below 100g/km receive tax breaks in some European markets.
The new Jazz has been sold in Japan since September last year, where it is badged as the Fit. The gasoline-electric version is a full hybrid with an electric-only driving mode and uses a lithium-ion battery mated to a 1.5-liter gasoline engine.
Honda will also launch its Vezel subcompact crossover next year in Europe where it will be badged as the HR-V. Honda sells a Vezel hybrid in Japan, but has not said whether the HR-V will have a hybrid variant in Europe.