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Future models - Honda - OSM

First look: Next hybrid Honda sports car is topless

Racey: Two-seater sports convertible to debut inside two weeks.

Honda reveals the next step in its hybrid sports car strategy: the OSM roadster

9 Jul 2008

HONDA has revealed a sketch of the saucy two-seater roadster concept that will make its global debut in less than two weeks at the British International Motor Show in London on July 22.

More than just another convertible concept, the Honda OSM (for Open Study Model) could be the latest step in the Japanese maker's strategy to produce a family of hybrid sports cars, starting with the road-going version of last year's petrol-electric CR-Z coupe concept in 2010.

After beating Toyota by just a matter of month to deliver the world's first hybrid production car in 2000 (the two-seater Insight coupe, which lasted barely four years on sale in Australia, from March 2001), Honda has lost considerable ground to Toyota - a brand name now synonymous with hybrid vehicles thanks to the Prius, which is now into its second generation and has attracted more than one million sales globally.

The inconspicuous Civic Hybrid continues and will be joined by a 'global hybrid' family car from Honda in 2009, but just as Toyota's next-generation Prius will spawn a family of unique hybrid models (including a Lexus version), the OSM show car suggests Honda doesn't plan on missing the hybrid party.

The exciting low-emissions roadster is claimed to "couple sleek looks with exciting driving dynamics and more efficient engine technology, to give lower exhaust emissions".

Though Honda stresses there are no plans for the design study model to enter production, it says it will "gather feedback from customers at the show to guide any future developments".

Designed by the same talented young designers that styled the Honda Small Hybrid Sports Concept (Geneva 2007) and the Accord Tourer Concept (Frankfurt 2007) at Honda's R&D facility in Offenbach, Germany, the OSM wears a super-slippery skin featuring a huge front air-dam and long, stylised headlights, differentiating it significantly from the CR-Z coupe.

There's a sloping rear-end that comprises a wraparound lighting strip, plus six-spoke alloys, but otherwise details remain scant.

The OSM will be joined in London by the UK debut of Honda's hydrogen fuel cell production car, the FCX Clarity, first customer versions of which rolled off the line in Japan last month. The first examples will be delivered in California this month, before the FCX launches in Japan later this year.

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