Back when the Toyota Prius was setting sales records, Honda decided to go them one better and bring a hybrid with sporting intentions to market. So was born the Honda CR=Z. Honda also elected to compete with the Prius head on using a hybrid version of its popular Civic sedan.
Both cars have sold in low numbers. The Honda CR-Z, while wrapped in an exciting design package, offers only tepid performance. It doesn’t get enough miles per gallon to attract the eco-car crowd and is too far down on power to attract the sports car set. The CR-Z has now been cancelled in Europe and Australia, where it sold a dismal 86 units in 2014. The US version fared somewhat better at 3,562 units sold.
The Civic Hybrid has been a huge disappointment. When first introduced, it boasted lofty fuel economy, but shortly after hitting the market, Honda was forced to re calibrate the settings for its powertrain to make the battery last the length of the warranty. After the changes were made, owners complained long and loud that their hybrid Civics got worse fuel economy than the company’s regular sedans equipped with internal combustion engines. Law suits followed and Civic Hybrid sales tumbled. Sales struggled to hit more than 5,000 units in 2014. It, too, has now been dropped from the line up in Australia.
Asked by AutoBlog if the CR-Z and Civic Hybrid will continue to be sold in America, Angie Nucci, Honda PR’s senior environment and safety specialist, said, “The 2015 CR-Z went on-sale in early October and the 2015 Civic Hybrid went on-sale the following month in November. Since these vehicles went on-sale fairly recently, it is simply too early to discuss future models at this time.” Hardly a ringing endorsement, is it?
Honda says it has three new “Hybrid Sport” models coming soon, beginning with the Accord Hybrid in late 2015. After that, the NSX hybrid supercar will debut and then the Jazz Hybrid, a.k.a. Honda Fit. Honda has no plans to bring a hybrid version of the Fit to the US, though it is offering a factory-approved supercharger kit for the CR-Z.
That leaves Honda with is no electric car for the US market and no competitive small hybrid sedan, and sales of the excellent 50 MPG Accord Hybrid haven’t made up for the shortfall, especially since they seem so hard to find. While every other manufacturer is falling all over itself to hurry plug ins and electric cars to the US market, Honda seems to have a corporate philosophy that disdains such innovative cars. Like Detroit in the 60’s, it seems content to muddle through with its existing models for the foreseeable future.
Someone by the name of canuckinaz posted this comment at AutoBlog: