LOS ANGELES — Honda, giving itself a $4,610 pricing edge over the base Toyota Prius, has added a base Insight hybrid model for 2011 that starts at $18,950, including destination charges.
That is a $1,600 price cut compared to the current Insight LX, which previously served as the base model.
Honda is counting on the steep price adjustment to reclaim ground with the more popular Prius.
Demand for the Insight has been essentially flat this year, with year-to-date sales of just 17,789, compared to sales of 17,530 units during the first ten months of 2009.
Prius sales have dipped slightly to 115,065 year-to-date from 118,290 during the same period in 2009.
To cut the Insight’s price, Honda removed some features from the LX model, such as standard navigation system and Bluetooth connectivity. It also has shifted to less expensive seat fabric and a stereo system that uses just two speakers.
Still, the new base model will include vehicle stability control, remote keyless locks, power windows, automatic climate control and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column. No safety features were downgraded, Honda said in a statement.
Pricing for the 2011 Insight LX model will be $20,650, a $100 price increase, while the EX model will be $22,240, a $190 increase. Both vehicles will get additional standard features.