In some markets, Honda is preparing to drop the price difference between its hybrid cars and comparable conventional cars. Might the US be the next market for such a move?

Coming soon, the $15,000 Honda hybrid?

Honda’s renewed mission to again own fuel economy

For a very long time, Honda has offered the most fuel efficient fleet of vehicles in America. Recently, however, other automakers have moved much closer to matching Honda’s fuel efficiency. In fact, Hyundai even surpassed Honda recently.

Fortunately, however, Honda is not going down without a fight, and things could soon become quite interesting.

Executives throughout Honda are rethinking fuel efficiency, even going so far as to delay the new Civic to make it more fuel efficient according to MotorTrend. Likewise, the automaker is adding a few new hybrid cars to its portfolio, such as the CR-Z hybrid and the Fit hybrid, and all other new vehicles will be driven by fuel economy as the “prime objective”.

However, there are signs that Honda’s new focus isn’t just going to be fuel efficiency, but cost-effective fuel efficiency, such as affordable hybrids for more than just the 3 percent of Americans currently buying hybrid vehicles – the original marketing promise of the Insight.

For example, in New Zealand – where 2-3 percent of residents also buy hybrids – Honda is offering the Insight hybrid at the same price as its conventional competition according to the NZHerald.

Certainly, this move might only make sense in smaller markets like New Zealand, in an attempt to offload a little excess supply. Then again, New Zealand might just be the first test market.

In recent months, many in the press have wondered if Honda had lost some of its mojo, it’s direction. It seems re-embracing fuel efficiency is Honda’s new direction. Nevertheless, Honda needs to do something bold to remind the world of its fuel-efficient roots. Slashing the price of its hybrid cars would certainly be one good way to garner such attention.

With a new Civic and a Fit hybrid upcoming, it should be noteworthy to watch how Honda plays its hybrid hand. For instance, might Honda be the first automaker to offer a $15,000 hybrid? Might not a $15,000 Fit hybrid, for instance, offer the Toyota Prius the most competition it has faced thus far?