Good morning ladies and gentlemen ... and thank you for joining Honda. It is great to be in Paris again ... a trendsetting city where ... today ... we plan to introduce the concept for a trendsetting new vehicle.
The need to reduce CO2 emissions is a global challenge that transcends all national borders. Honda is addressing this challenge with technologies for the current, near and long-term.
Today we are introducing an all-new Jazz in Europe ... with an enhanced design ... even greater utility ... while further reducing fuel consumption. And it achieves the number one fuel efficiency for B-segment petrol vehicles. To help us meet increasing global demand for high fuel efficiency cars, we will begin production of Jazz at our plant in the U.K. next year.
For the long term, we believe fuel cell electric vehicle technology is the ultimate environmental solution. And we have begun introducing the industry- leading Honda FCX Clarity to individual customers to advance this technology.
But to reduce CO2 emissions in the near term, Honda believes the best approach is to advance hybrid technology to mainstream customers. And the foundation of our efforts is the Honda Company Principle that has guided our business for more than 50 years. Maintaining a global viewpoint ... with products of the highest quality ... at a reasonable price ... for worldwide customer satisfaction.
Today, we introduce a hybrid vehicle concept model ... the all-new Honda Insight ... that takes this principle into action. The original Insight was a 2-seat subcompact car. Introduced in 1999, it was a pioneer for petrol-electric hybrid technology in Europe and North America ... as the very first commercially available hybrid car in these markets. We applied new technologies to achieve the number one fuel efficiency in the industry. These included the ultimate in aerodynamic design ... an all-aluminum body and new processes for aluminum body production ... and the compact IMA hybrid system.
The all-new Honda Insight will also be a pioneer ... challenging to take hybrid technology into a new era of affordability. This new Insight will give more people the chance to get behind the wheel of a high quality hybrid vehicle only Honda can develop. Following the advanced aerodynamic design of FCX Clarity, Insight is a 5-seat 5-door hatchback ... with room for a family.
We are developing this vehicle to achieve excellent fuel efficiency on par with Civic Hybrid ... but at a significantly reduced price. The new Insight is equipped with a hybrid system that combines a lightweight and compact 1.3-liter engine with a motor that will achieve excellent fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions.
We created a newly developed platform with the control unit and battery under the cargo space. As a result, Insight achieves excellent utility together with light and comfortable driving feel to offer a "Fun to Drive" spirit.
This new Insight represents the further advance of our concept of offering a hybrid for everyone. We have further reduced the weight and size of the hybrid system. And we have improved and strengthened our production system to further reduce the cost of our hybrid system.
While we continue to view the FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle as the ultimate solution, we will position Insight as an environmentally-responsible vehicle available to everyone now. The mass-production Insight will go on sale in Europe, Japan, and North America in spring 2009 ... with expected annual global sales of 200,000 units.
The new Insight marks the start of a new phase in our hybrid vehicle strategy ... that will also include the Civic Hybrid, a new vehicle based on the CR-Z concept vehicle and a new Jazz hybrid. We expect combined annual sales to reach approximately 500,000 units.
As a next step ... we plan to unveil the mass-production model of Insight next January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. But, now, it is my pleasure to give you this first look at the Insight Concept model. Thank you for your attention.