Honda Motor Co. Ltd. is facing a shortage of its hot-selling Fit small car in North America, while halving production of its Accord Hybrid sedan as sales slump.

The subcompact Fit 5-door has been on sale in the U.S. since April 20, and in the first 45 days of availability some 9,900 units have been sold. That rate exceeds the auto maker's 38,000- to 42,000-unit annual target.

At the same time, the Accord Hybrid, which went on sale in late 2004, never has achieved its annual sales target of 20,000 units. U.S. sales through May, at 2,849 units, have plunged 58.5% vs. year-ago, according to Ward's data.

A Honda spokesman says output of the vehicle has been reduced by 50% in the first five months of 2006 vs. the same period year-ago at Honda's Sayama, Japan, plant.

Acceptance of the V-6 powered Accord Hybrid, which for the '06 model year begins at $30,990, has been hampered by its high sticker price and performance-oriented nature, says Dan Bonawitz, vice president-auto operations, for American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

“The Accord (Hybrid) is tuned to be ‘plus performance,’ and with the current gas prices and price differential, it's just not doing that well,” he says.