Honda plans to kill its high-performance Prelude sports coupe next year after 23 years as the sportiest Honda, according to a story by James R. Healey in USA Today. In a separate development, the carmaker plans to begin selling gasoline-electric hybrid-power Civic sedans in the USA about next March, hoping to triple U.S. sales of fuel-efficient hybrid cars. Honda also gets a version of the Acura MDX sport-utility vehicle "soon," according to Honda's U.S. sales chief, Executive Vice President Dick Colliver. Colliver wouldn't say exactly when. Acura is Honda's luxury brand. Automakers are reacting to complaints about high fuel prices, counting on a continuing truck boom, and simultaneously dumping gas guzzlers and unpopular models, even those with considerable heritage. Though a favorite of auto enthusiasts for its powerful engine and sporty handling, sales of the $24,000-$27,000 Prelude are slow. It was outsold last month by the $21,000 Honda Insight, a two-seat gas-electric hybrid considered a niche model. Ford Mustang, the most popular sporty coupe, starts at $17,000 and outsells Prelude 12-to-1. Colliver said Honda will introduce another coupe, "a completely different design," as a 2003 model. It is expected to fit between today's Prelude and the mainstream Honda Accord coupe in size, price and image. Honda isn't the only manufacturer pulling the plug on venerable models. General Motors says it plans to discontinue slow-selling Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird and Cadillac Eldorado coupes. Gasoline at $2 a gallon many places has renewed motorists' interest in fuel economy and helped spur Honda Insight sales last month to double their normal level. Rival Toyota's more family-friendly Prius four-door hybrid sedan is rated 52/45 mpg, priced about $21,000 and outsells Insight more than 2-1. Toyota says it will sell a hybrid minivan here, but hasn't said when, or at what price.