Toyota priusThe message to auto-makers has been made clear – hybrid does matter and the more affordable, the better. With the unbelievable success of the Toyota Prius which has been labeled as the car that put hybrids on the map, other auto-makers have been looking to develop a car that can beat the success of the Prius, and become the “next big hybrid.” One of those auto-makers that is hoping to challenge Toyota’s Prius is Honda.

Honda is no stranger to hybrids, however, their hybrid models thus far haven’t proven to be successful. First they offered the Insight back in 99, and then they took their already successful non-hybrid vehicles, the Civic and Accord, and offered those in a hybrid version as well. As with the Insight, the hybrid version just never took-off. Now they’re attempting the hybrid route again with a brand new car with a unique look that they say will have better fuel economy than the already impressive fuel economy of the Prius.

And because price does matter, they’ll be offering it for a price below $22,000 which will place it under the Prius’s MSRP of $22,175. America hasn’t been able to get enough of the Prius, and Honda is hoping that will be the case when their Hybrid vehicle debuts sometime in 2009. Honda’s senior Vice President, John Mendel says “The Prius has become synonymous with hybrid; it’s the Kleenex of hybrids. We feel Honda should be synonymous with the most fuel-efficient company in America.”

A little competition is never a bad thing and with Honda known for their quality vehicles, I’m curious to see what they come up with, and if their version will really challenge the sales of the Prius. While Honda’s version will be priced lower than the Prius, it would still be nice to see an auto-maker come out with a reliable hybrid for under $15,000. Think it’s possible in the near future?

Source: DailyTech