Plunging sales of the Honda Insight has convinced executives to cancel production of the first modern hybrid vehicle ever sold in the United States. While Toyota Prius sales continue to soar, Honda has decided to consolidate its hybrid efforts on more popular models, like the Accord.
In 2013, Honda sold just over 280,000 Insight models, more than 157,000 of them in Japan. In Europe, falling Insight sales led to the cancellation of the Insight alongside stablemate the Honda CR-Z. In The U.S., Honda sold just 4,802 Insights, worse than any other car in Honda’s lineup save, again, the CR-Z.
Meanwhile, culmative Toyota Prius sales eclipsed 3.9 million units, making it the undisputed king of hybrid cars. So even though the Honda Insight was introduced seven months before the Toyota Prius in 1999, Honda has been unable to capitalize on the hybrid car craze. Even though the Insight is supposedly one of the cheapest cars to own, its 41 city and 44 highway MPG ratings are being matched or beat by non-hybrid compacts and diesels, at least on paper.
However, their most recent effort with the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid could change that, and no doubt the marketing people want to focus their efforts there. Honda has offered as many as five hybrid models across a wide price range, dividing buyers’ attention between competing models. A little more focus could really help Honda’s hybrid sales.
So far the Honda mothership has been mum on the fate of the CR-Z coupe, though I don’t have much hope for its long-term future either.