Honda to target tuners with the CR-Z hybrid hatchback

2011 Honda CR-Z

John Mendel, executive vice president for automobile sales at American Honda Motor Co., said that research shows the Honda CR-Z is clicking with “young people and guys my age, because it’s reminiscent of the CR-X, which was the ultimate tuner vehicle.”

Mendel, who is 55 years old, said that young buyers like the CR-Z’s sportiness more than the practical aspects of it being a hybrid.

“We thought maybe the hybrid would turn the tuners off,” Mendel said. “Basically, they just say, ‘It’s 20 extra horsepower — what the hell.’ ”

To attract younger buyers, Honda will use social media and sponsoring concert tours of musical acts with a multigenerational appeal.

Click here for more news on the Honda CR-Z.

Refresher: The 2011 Honda CR-Z is powered by a 1.5L i-VTEC mated to Honda”s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system. It produces a total of 122-hp and a maximum torque of 128 lb-ft when mated to manual transmission (123 lb-ft for CVT models). Fuel-economy is estimated at 31/37 mpg (city/highway) for the manual model and 36/38 mpg for the CVT model. Sales begin in the second half of 2010.

2011 Honda CR-Z:

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)