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Is Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (HMC)’s New Fit a Hit or a Miss?

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Honda revealed the next-generation Fit subcompact in Japan on Friday. Photo credit: Honda

Will Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC)’s new Fit build on the old car’s success?

The car you see above was revealed  this past week in Japan. It’s a prototype of the all-new Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) Fit. The new Fit is due to be rolled out in Japan this fall, and will be here in the U.S. by next summer.

Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC)Stylistically, it’s… well, let’s say it’s a departure from the outgoing model, which has won many fans with its endearing looks. In a way, the current Fit is a lot like Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) of old: Light, simple, well-thought-out.

The new Fit might not have the visual appeal of the old one. But at least in its hybrid incarnation, it has something else: Record-breaking fuel economy.

The new Fit Hybrid is amazing, and not coming to the U.S.
Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) says that the hybrid version of the new Fit will get 36.4 kilometers from each liter of gas in the standard fuel-economy test used by the Japanese government. That translates to about 84 miles per gallon – good enough to make it Japan’s most fuel-efficient car.

It’s also a 30% improvement over the outgoing Fit Hybrid, which is a big seller in Japan – but which was never offered here in the U.S.

Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) says that the new Fit Hybrid won’t come here, either – a strange decision given that the Fit Hybrid’s closest competitor is the Japan-market version of Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)’s Prius c, which has been offered in the U.S for a while now. But we will see the Fit’s hybrid powertrain in two new variants: A small sedan and a subcompact crossover SUV based on the Fit.

The U.S. is expected to get the Fit with a new 1.5 liter four-cylinder engine as the only powertrain option in the Fit itself. The new U.S.-market Fit and its new variants will all be built in a new factory in Mexico that is set to open early next year.

So will it succeed?

Can the new Fit live up to the old car?
The outgoing Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) Fit might be the company’s most beloved current model. Unlike Honda’s bigger cars, which have grown in size and weight (and price) from the lightweight, efficient models that built Honda’s reputation here in the U.S., the Fit is still small and light – and very fuel-efficient.

The current Honda Fit has won fans with its fuel economy and simple, endearing look. Photo credit: Honda

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