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When It Comes To Cars, 9/10 Kiwis Choose Green

MEDIA RELEASE
15 MARCH 2004

WHEN IT COMES TO CARS, NINE OUT OF TEN KIWIS CHOOSE GREEN
Honda Launches Civic Hybrid at Te Papa

The vast majority of kiwis (90%) think that New Zealanders should be more committed to buying environmentally friendlier cars, according to research undertaken by TNS-Global.

The research results were announced at the launch of the new Honda Civic Hybrid at Te Papa in Wellington today.

Other findings showed that Christchurch residents are less environmentally committed with 82% believing New Zealanders should purchase environmentally friendlier cars, compared to about 90% of respondents from Auckland and Wellington. In addition, males (83%) are less committed to buying energy efficient and low emission cars than females (96%).

When buying a new car, provided price and performance are the same as for a standard car, 87% of respondents said it is important to them that the new car is better for the environment than other cars.

Priced at $33,000, the Honda Civic Hybrid is significantly cheaper than other hybrid vehicles on the market. In addition, the Hybrid uses 30% less fuel than the already efficient Civic Sedan, and gets 58mpg (four litres/100km). Emissions are significantly reduced and performance is indistinguishable from a standard Honda Civic.

"Hybrid technology marks the start of the future of New Zealand motoring. It brings hybrid technology into the mainstream and is an affordable alternative for those wanting to be friendlier to the environment," said Graeme Seymour, managing director at Honda New Zealand.

"The environmental footprint of Civic Hybrid is so low that 10 Civic Hybrids have the same impact as one new car or 80 Hybrids have the same impact as a 12 year old average aged car in the New Zealand fleet," he said.

Honda today presented ARC councillor Gwen Bull with the keys to the first Honda Civic Hybrid to be sold in New Zealand.

"More people using hybrids instead of using petrol or diesel vehicles will contribute towards better air quality and help save lives," said Gwen Bull. "More than 400 people die early every year in this country from vehicle emissions, 250 of those people in the Auckland region. Many more people suffer from asthma attacks and bronchial problems brought on by emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles. In Auckland 80% of air pollution is caused by motor vehicles."

"Honda's hybrid is the first hybrid to join the ARC's vehicle fleet, but it will not be the last," she added.

At the launch Honda announced that it is establishing a tree bank of over 50,000 trees to be distributed through ARC and other regional councils. For every new Honda car sold or imported by Honda New Zealand, ten trees will be planted on behalf of customers.

A visual display at the launch illustrated how hybrid car emissions are dramatically lower when compared to regular vehicles. Emissions released from 100 new cars that meet the new emission standards introduced in January 2004 travelling 20,000kms a year would release 500kgs of soot. In comparison, 200 Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles like the Honda Civic Hybrid would release 50kgs of soot if travelling the same distance.

"The launch of the new Honda Civic Hybrid marks a new era where individuals and companies can begin to make decisions about leaving a much smaller environmental footprint on the world, without having to sacrifice performance," Mr Seymour said.

The Honda Civic Hybrid has a 1.3 litre 4-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor. Primary power comes from the engine when cruising and on deceleration the electric motor functions as a generator and charges the battery pack.

All new Hondas sold in NZ comply with international low emission vehicle technology even though there is no legal requirement to do so.

ENDS


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