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In a bid to capture younger customers, Honda Motor Co. on Monday introduced the HR-V, a new compact multipurpose utility vehicle, which hits the market today.

The HR-V, which stands for Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle, is equipped with a 1.6-liter engine, and its exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide are one-tenth the maximum level specified by Japanese regulations. “Although the current market condition is really severe, we hope to create a new market with this model,” Honda President Hiroyuki Yoshino told a news conference.

The HR-V is equipped with Honda’s newly developed shock-absorbing transmission, which features high fuel efficiency. The vehicle also features a roomy cabin. It has a new body structure — including an impact-absorbing hood and fenders — that reduces body deformation and impact on passengers in collisions.

The model will be priced from 1.29 million yen to 1.69 million yen, and Honda hopes for monthly sales of 3,500 units. The firm plans to export the model to Europe and other parts of Asia next year.

Regarding last week’s shareholder approval of a merger between Chrysler Corp. and Daimler-Benz AG, Yoshino said Honda will maintain its independence. “I understand that the two firms aim to capture strong positions in the Asian market and in new technologies through the merger,” he said, adding that Honda doesn’t need to tie up with other firms on those two points.

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