Although the Honda Fit is now one of Honda’s global models, it experienced a very slow progression as it made its way around the world. The car first debuted in June 2001 in Japan and immediately became a big hit. It was then introduced to Europe (early 2002), Australia (late 2002), South America (early 2003), South Africa and South-East Asia (mid 2003), China (mid 2004), and Mexico (late 2005).
A production model for the United States and Canadian markets debuted on January 8, 2006 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The car was released in Canada on April 3, 2006, and in the U.S. on April 20, 2006. Due to its late introduction in Canada and the US, the current generation Fit will be replaced after only three model years by a new 2009 model, which was released for Japan in November 2007 as a 2008 model. Thus, the Fit is an exception to other Honda models sold in Canada and the US, which traditionally have 4 or 5-year model cycles. This reset is to ensure that the 2009 Fit and subsequent iterations will maintain the same platforms worldwide.
The Fit is sold in 6 variations. All Fit/Jazz models throughout the world utilize one of 7 or more distinct codes. They are found in the vehicle’s identification number (VIN):
- GD1: 1.3L L13A I4 engine 2WD
- GD2: 1.3L L13A I4 engine 4WD (Japan only)
- GD3: 1.5L L15A I4 engine 2WD
- GD4: 1.5L L15A I4 engine 2WD (Canada and United States only)
- GD5: 1.5L L15A I4 engine 4WD (Japan only)
- GD6: 1.2L L12A I4 engine 2WD (Europe only)
- GE3: 1.4L L13A I4 engine 2WD (2007 UK model. Made in China)
Depending on the region, the Fit is equipped with either a 1.2, 1.3, or 1.4liter i-DSI engine, or a 1.5liter VTEC engine. All four engines are based on Honda’s L-series engine family. The 8-valve i-DSI (intelligent dual and sequential) engines use two spark plugs per cylinder, allowing gasoline to burn more completely; therefore, fuel consumption and emissions are reduced while maximum torque at mid-range rpm is maintained. The 1.5L VTEC engine has the typical 16-valve configuration.