Honda has launched production of the 2019 Insight at its plant in Greensburg, Ind., capping $61.5 million the automaker has invested there and at three plants in Ohio to build the all-new hybrid sedan and pave the way for more electrified vehicles.
The Honda Manufacturing of Indiana plant will build all Insight models for the North American market after receiving a $32.5 million investment. That money went toward a 19,200-square-foot building expansion to accommodate in-house subassembly of the Insight's front-end module. Though it marks the first time the Indiana plant will take on modular subassembly for the front frame and components such as the radiator and cooling fan, Honda first introduced the practice on the 2016 Civic. It now uses the approach on the Accord and CR-V crossover. The Indiana plant is also now handling processes including installing electrified systems like high-voltage wiring, battery units and power control systems.
With the production launch, Honda is now building the Insight, Civic and CR-V all on the same assembly line in Indiana.
Three plants in neighboring Ohio are also involved in building the new Insight. Honda invested $29 million in its transmission plant in Russells Point, Ohio, where it will build the twin electric motor unit, while the battery pack is being assembled at its plant in Marysville, where it also builds the just-launched 2019 Accord Hybrid. Lastly is the 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, which is made at its Anna, Ohio, engine plant.
Honda showed off the production version of the Insight in March at the New York Auto Show. The hybrid pairs the gas engine with a generator motor and a propulsion motor for a combined output of 151 horsepower and 197 pound-feet of torque. It also gets an aluminum hood, which will help it save weight. Fuel-economy ratings aren't yet in from the EPA, but Honda has said it expects the hybrid to squeeze out 55 miles per gallon in the city, on par with the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq.
Honda is targeting two-thirds of its global auto sales from electrified vehicles by 2030, but its sales expectations for the Insight aren't clear; Autoblog sought comment from Honda but did not hear back. The Insight launches at a time when sedan sales are slumping and hybrid cars struggle to sell in high volumes. It's the fifth electrified vehicle Honda has launched in the past 18 months, joining the Clarity Fuel Cell, Clarity Electric, Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and 2019 Accord Hybrid.
Honda says the Insight will slot between the Civic and Accord in its U.S. lineup and will go on sale in early summer. Pricing hasn't yet been announced.