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Honda Experiences Another Stellar Year of Environmental Leadership
 Date: August 16, 2002 22:08
 Submitted by:  Tuan
 Source: Honda Press Release
 Credibility Rating: N/A


Torrance, Calif. 08/16/2002 -- Heading into the 2003 model year, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. continues to demonstrate that it is outpacing its competition in making important practical developments in environmental leadership.
"Honda has proven its commitment to developing real world technologies, including the gas-electric hybrid powertrain, that reduce the impact of vehicles on the environment," said Tom Elliott, executive vice president, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "As we move into the future, Honda will remain a leader in manufacturing the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicles available to consumers."

The 2002 model year featured a number of firsts for Honda. Spring saw the arrival of the highly anticipated 2003 Civic Hybrid, the first mainstream vehicle sold in North America equipped with a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, and the second hybrid in Honda's line of vehicles. Called one of the most fuel-efficient and technologically advanced sedans by the New York Times, the Civic Hybrid uses a more advanced version of Honda's innovative Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology, employing a 1.3-liter, i-DSI, 4-cylinder gasoline engine coupled with a high-output electric motor to provide excellent performance and fuel efficiency. The system's nickel-metal hydride battery is automatically recharged during braking and deceleration, and

results in the vehicle never needing to be plugged in. Compared to other Civic sedans, the hybrid powertrain improves fuel economy by up to 30 percent, while still meeting the stringent Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) standard.

To greet the arrival of the Civic Hybrid at dealerships nationwide, federal and state incentives were announced to encourage consumers to purchase high efficiency/low emissions vehicles. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirmed that the Civic Hybrid and Insight - the first gas-electric hybrid on sale in the U.S. - are eligible for a one-time federal tax deduction of up to $2,000 under section 179A of the Internal Revenue Code. The clean fuel vehicle deduction is applied in the tax year in which the car was purchased, and can be claimed for a past year by filling an amended return. Under current law, the deduction will be phased out in tax years 2004-2006. At the state level, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced that the natural gas-powered Civic GX, Civic Hybrid and Insight qualified for incentives worth $500 to $3,000 as part of their efficient vehicle incentive program. The Civic Hybrid and Insight offer a maximum of $1,000 depending on the participation level of the local air quality management district, while the new Civic GX offers $3,000. Incentives will end or be reduced when air district or CEC funds are exhausted.

Three other fuel efficient/low emissions vehicles were introduced to make 2002 a busy year for Honda. The first, the all-new 2003 Pilot sport-utility vehicle, was launched in June. It is an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV), and is constructed with 90 percent recyclable components. Developed under the theme of the "Ultimate Family Adventure Vehicle," the Pilot delivers best-in-class interior space with theatre-style seating for up to eight passengers. Featuring a 240-horsepower, VTEC V-6 engine, sophisticated four-wheel drive technology and five-star safety performance, the Pilot is the best all-around performer in its class.

The second vehicle, the all-new seventh-generation Accord, brings last year's best-selling car to a new level of world-class style, sophistication and performance. Both the sedan and coupe have been redesigned and re-engineered to top the midsize class in safety, quality and refinement. Two engines are available in the 2003 Accord: a new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and an extensively revised 3.0-liter V6. Both have more peak power and torque than their predecessors, as well as lower emissions and improved fuel economy. The 2.4-liter i-VTEC powertrain meets California's SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) emissions regulations - the most stringent in the world - on models equipped with the 5-speed automatic transmission. The 3.0-liter V6 engine, which increases output by 40-horsepower (some 20% over the 2002 model) - meets the ULEV standard.

Rounding out the new introductions, the 2003 Element was introduced in August as an all-new light truck based on the popular Model X concept vehicle unveiled at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A LEV II-LEV vehicle, the Element combines the best features of a pickup truck and a SUV, and serves as a combination dorm room/base camp for active young buyers. The flexible interior hauls four adults and their gear comfortably on road trips; or the rear seats fold away to create a large and open interior capable of hauling just about anything that could be used during the course of a weekend. A key design feature of the Element is the center opening cargo doors that have no B-pillar for maximum cargo loading flexibility.

On the awards front, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) designated the Insight as the overall "Greenest Vehicle" in their annual Green Book: The Environmental Guide to Cars and Trucks - Model Year 2002 for the third consecutive year. The Civic GX tied for second place, while the Civic HX Coupe ranked fourth, and was the best rated non-hybrid, gasoline-powered vehicle on the list. Civic DX, LX and EX sedans and coupes also received high marks. The Insight model equipped with an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) topped ACEEE's "Greener Choices" list, a special index that is limited to gasoline-powered vehicles with an automatic transmission.

In addition, the 2002 CR-V was awarded an Automotive Market Environmental Sensitivity (AMES) Award from Amesaward.com, an Internet resource for evaluating vehicle environmental performance, and R.L. Polk & Co. The "Best in Class" award was given to the CR-V for its outstanding fuel economy and low emissions in the compact SUV market. The Civic and Insight also scored "Preferred" rankings in the subcompact car category, a distinction they earned in the 2001 model year as well.
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