Honda Insight Killed, CR-Z Next?

2001 Honda Insight

2001 Honda Insight

2nd Generation Honda Insight Fails The Honda Insight began life as a hardcore hybrid with futuristic styling.  It was so revolutionary, different looking and so purpose-built it never sold in satisfactory volumes.  The first Insight was a pure commuter car with extremely slippery aerodynamics.  There was no rear seat and the body tapered off into a teardrop shape.  The rear wheels were covered bodywork to improve aerodynamics.  The Insight actually beat the Toyota Prius hybrid to the market, but once the Prius launched, the Insight was blown into the weeds.  The Prius was more practical, had better performance and got competitive fuel economy.  No wonder the Insight failed.  After a hiatus, Honda launched the second generation Insight in 2009 as a 2010 model vehicle.  While the 2nd generation Insight was a better attempt, its sales peaked at 21,000 units in 2009 and 2010 before dropping to below 5,000 units in 2013.  A key aspect of the Insight is how poorly it fared in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  The Insight was always in the bottom ten of the ratings out of more than 200 vehicles sold in the USA.  Low sales and poor satisfaction do not make for a viable business case.  The car simply did not meet buyers’  expectations and Honda dealers had a hard time moving them.

2014 Honda Insight

2014 Honda Insight

Honda Insight Killed  A couple of weeks ago, Honda announced the Insight and two-seat Honda CR-Z hybrid were being cancelled in Europe.  Following a week or so later, American Honda announced the latest version of the hybrid Honda Insight has been killed after five years on the market.  About time, they were just cluttering up the sales lots of American Honda dealerships with over 200 days of inventory on hand in February, 2014.

1988 Honda CR-X

1988 Honda CR-X

2014 Honda CR-Z

2014 Honda CR-Z

What is the Future for the CR-Z Sport Hybrid Coupe?  Absent from the American Honda announcement was the CR-Z, a very sporty, small 2-seat hybrid – Honda terms it a “sport hybrid coupe”.  Think of CR-Z as the ideological offspring of the original CR-X.   So, is Honda killing the CR-Z as well?  The story for the CR-Z is even worse than for the Insight.  It has never sold more than 12,000 units in a year – achieving just 11,300 sales in 2011.  By 2013, CR-Z sold only 4,600 units in the USA.  While the satisfaction results for CR-Z are better than for the Insight, the car is still in the bottom 20 overall.  Not good.

While Honda may have a gasoline version of the CR-Z under development, that may not be enough to save the car in the USA.

Hybrid Versions of Mainstream Accord, Civic and Fit Give Honda a Good Presence in the Alternative Fuel Arena  From an hybrid point of view, Honda has the Civic hybrid and  launched the Accord PHEV in early 2013 and the hybrid Accord later in the year.  Honda will add a hybrid model to the Fit after it begins production in Mexico right about now.  These new hybrids are much more competitive than the Insight or the CR-Z.  So now Honda has competitive hybrid entries in more mainstream models that should sell much better.

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