• Kyodo

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Honda Motor Co. plans to introduce a hybrid version of the popular Accord in a bid to compete in the growing hybrid car market, Honda President Takeo Fukui said Monday.

Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with a self-charging electric motor, helping to conserve energy and protect the environment.

The hybrid Accord, following the Civic and Insight, will be Honda’s third hybrid. Honda plans to introduce an Accord test model as early as this fall.

The engine of the hybrid Accord will have the fuel efficiency of the Civic compact but will come with horsepower equal to a regular engine, Fukui said at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.

By introducing the hybrid version, Honda is positioning itself to challenge Toyota Motor Corp., whose Prius hybrid was named the 2004 Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine, a leading U.S. automotive publication.

The Prius, introduced in 1997 as the world’s first commercially produced hybrid car, was chosen out of 26 models released or set for release by last Thursday.

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