INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

After winning their categories in the last two years, the 2.0-litre S2000 and 1.0 litre Insight IMA hybrid units again collected most votes in the 2002 International Engine of the Year Awards, sponsored by Engine Technology International magazine.

The Insight motor also won an award for best fuel economy, while the engine powering the new Civic Hybrid model won the 1.0 to 1.4-litre category as well as being voted second only to the Insight in the best economy class.

Said magazine editor Graham Johnson: "Following its repeat success with the Insight and impressive debut of the petrol electric Civic, Honda has again justified its decision to invest in hybrid designs. That it also produces the phenomenal 120 horsepower per litre engine that powers the Honda S2000 demonstrates the breadth of ability of this company."

Honda has risen 44 places up the Financial Times chart of the world's most profitable companies to 97th place, making Honda Motor Co the third most valuable car company in the world - and putting Honda in the FT's top 100 global players for the first time.

The FT 500 provides an annual snapshot of the world's largest companies, ranked by market capitalisation - the bigger the value placed on the company by stock markets, the higher its ranking. In automotive terms, Honda comes in behind Toyota (28) and DaimlerChrysler (81) but well ahead of GM (126), Nissan (131), Ford (156), BMW (166) and VW (210).

The top three companies globally are General Electric, Microsoft and Exxon Mobil.

As part of Honda's policy of conducting research on various universal issues such as energy conservation and global environmental protection, a joint research team between Honda R&D and Nagoya University in Japan has succeeded in identifying and clarifying the action mechanism of a gene that reduces the height of rice plants.

It is expected that identifying this gene could lead to a substantial reduction in the time and labour required for cultivating rice varieties with high crop yields and low wastage. There is also a possibility of applying this knowledge to other kinds of crops. The full results of the study are published in the scientific journal Nature.

It has lightweight bodywork, a unique engine and specially tuned suspension for sizzling high performance - but Honda's new ultimate Type R model is not heading for showrooms in Britain.

Just announced in Japan, the R version of the company's NSX supercar is the product of a painstaking weight reduction effort and uses carbon fibre for its bonnet and rear spoiler, lighter wheels, a smaller battery and has even thinner floor carpets.

With a circuit-tuned chassis and high-precision engine balancing, it provides still greater power than the 168mph two seater on which it is based. But the new model is intended only for Japanese aficionados of super-performance cars and the company has announced that fewer than 50 will be produced each year.

CAR NEWS

Honda's latest models have set the pace in used car values after reaching exceptionally high prices at their first auction appearance.

Five examples of the new Jazz supermini achieved an average figure of £10,200 - an amazing 95.4 per cent of the £10,695 of the car's new cost - when they went under the hammer. And the average price of three ex-Honda UK fleet CR-V models was £16,200, representing a 93.4 per cent return on the new-car cost of £17,340.

"Each of these new models has been warmly received by new car buyers, but these remarkable residual values are even better than we expected. High returns like this have a massive impact on cutting the cost of motoring," said Used Vehicle Sales Manager Shaun Wootton.

Business motorists will be treated to the delights of the next-generation NSX supercar and the latest S2000 roadster as part of Honda's line-up at a special event next month.

But the real stars of Company Car in Action promise to be the new Jazz supermini and the CTDi diesel-powered version of the British-built Civic hatchback. "These vehicles enter two of the fastest-growing UK market sectors, so we think the timing of their arrival is perfect," says Honda (UK)'s Head of Corporate Sales James Daulton.

Also available at the event will be the 200hp Civic Type R and 212hp Accord Type R, the new CR-V sport utility and the Stream multi-purpose estate car.

Looking for a bargain in economy motoring? Then look no further than the Honda (UK) website (www.honda.co.uk), which is listing used examples of the award-winning Insight coupe at under £10,000.

Having covered an average 8,000 miles, the petrol-electric hybrid models are only a few months old and represent a massive saving over the new cost of £17,000.

"This is a rare bargain and one that is unlikely to be repeated. With sprightly performance, economy of more than 80mpg and only £70 road tax, the Insight is a terrific example of how high technology can cut the cost of motoring," says Used Vehicle Sales Manager Shaun Wootton.


Published : 13/06/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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