Honda will start making a hybrid version of its Fit compact in Thailand this summer, according to the Japanese publication the Nikkei. Production will mark the first time Honda will be making any of its hybrids in Asia outside of Japan. Sales of the Jazz Hybrid – Honda substitutes the name Jazz for Fit outside of the U.S. – will start as soon as next summer.
The reason for the increased production is so Honda can keep up with increased sales of its most popular hybrid. Last year, Honda sold 86,000 units of the hybrid worldwide. Honda first unveiled a version of the Jazz Hybrid for the Japanese and European markets at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. That model uses the same powertrain as the CR-Z and Insight hybrids.
The Jazz Hybrid production would mark yet another victory for the Thail automotive industry, The country is the world's 12th-largest but was staggered in the wake of a flood last fall that killed 815 people and ground auto production to a halt. Honda and Toyota plants there suffered, but both have since restarted production
When or if Fit Hybrid sales reach the U.S. is anyone's guess. Honda unveiled a battery-electric Fit at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November and said it would start leasing the Fit EV to a limited number of customers in the U.S. later this summer.