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Honda: Insight "too small" and likely to miss sales targets, Fit Hybrid a 'struggle'

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Filed under: Car Buying, Budget, Hybrid, Hatchback, Honda

2010-honda-insight-silver.jpg
2010 Honda Insight - Click above for high-res image gallery

Honda Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo doesn't seem to think that the automaker will hit its worldwide sales goal of 200,000 Insight hybrids in its first year on the market. Why? In an interview with Bloomberg, Kondo is quoted as saying "I think we compromised too much on size in pursuing fuel efficiency" for the U.S. market, he said.

In total, Honda sold 130,445 units of its Insight worldwide in 2009. The car was first introduced in Japan in February and then in the U.S. in March. In the States, the car's second-largest market, Honda sold just 20,572 units in 2009 - a far cry from the 90,000 it hoped to sell here in the first year.

Further, in reference to the long-expected Honda Fit Hybrid, Kondo said:
There are plenty of people who think that the current Fit meets their needs already [when it comes to fuel efficiency]... a hybrid version might seem expensive. Our engineers are really struggling
.

It remains to be seen whether the upcoming CR-Z can bolster Honda's sketchy hybrid positioning.



[source: Bloomberg]

Honda: Insight "too small" and likely to miss sales targets, Fit Hybrid a 'struggle' originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 01 Feb 2010 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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I dunno how much smaller it is relative to the Prius, but Honda's mistake was making a dedicated Hybrid, like a Prius, that looks a lot like a Prius to most people, that rides worse than a Prius and doesn't get anywhere near the same fuel economy as the Prius.

Of course at least it won't accelerate unintentionally like a Prius. ;)

They made a vehicle that is to the mind of everyone but themselves a Prius competitor, but isn't one the same level as the Prius.

Fit hybrid is a stupid idea...if they even acknowledge this why are they continuing with it? The Fit is small and frugal as it is. It doesn't need an expensive hybrid powertrain.

The CRZ looks terrible and looks to be pretty gutless...sports car it is not.

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I dunno how much smaller it is relative to the Prius, but Honda's mistake was making a dedicated Hybrid, like a Prius, that looks a lot like a Prius to most people, that rides worse than a Prius and doesn't get anywhere near the same fuel economy as the Prius.

The ride is sportier than the Prius and inline with how Hondas always are, though that may not be what most people looking for an economy hybrid are wanting. It gets about the same real world mileage as the Prius. Honda made some mistakes marketing this vehicle, and this article does a good job explaining it. Using the Insight name made people immediately think it was designed for high mileage and should get mileage better than the original Insight. Just the name may have put off some people who are looking for something practical, which the Gen I Insight was not. The Insight 2nd gen was designed with economy as the primary goal and mileage as a secondary goal. They achieved it quite well but without being able to market it properly they put themselves in a bad spot. Also, the low EPA rating -Honda should have done something about that. Not sure if it was to protect the Civic hybrid's EPA numbers (which has real world mileage much closer to than the Insight) or not, but there's no reason it shouldn't be higher when real-world combined mileage is around 49 and most test drives put it in the 50-60 range.

Of course at least it won't accelerate unintentionally like a Prius. ;)

They made a vehicle that is to the mind of everyone but themselves a Prius competitor, but isn't one the same level as the Prius.

Fit hybrid is a stupid idea...if they even acknowledge this why are they continuing with it? The Fit is small and frugal as it is. It doesn't need an expensive hybrid powertrain.

The CRZ looks terrible and looks to be pretty gutless...sports car it is not.

Honda has stated before, although it is kind of pointless in the eyes of most people, that the next generation Civic hybrid (due out within a year I think) is going to be the "real" competitor to the Prius in both size and price. I think most people forget that the Insight is $3,000 less than the Prius. That's a lot of miles at 50 mpg.

I think the CRZ is pretty hot looking and there's no telling how well it performs yet, since nobody has driven it yet.

Right now, there is simply no economical way Honda could produce a competitive Fit hybrid. I think that is the root of the problem there. With the exchange rate and both the drivetrain and car coming from Japan, Honda would have to charge too much to make money on it.

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You are correct sir, and that's your taste. It's just that I have never seen you be critical of any Honda designs. :P

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perhaps if they would have refrained from making the insight a $h!ty little crapbox.

the other thing, people realized the obsession with being green was becoming a negative national phenomenon that was destroying our economy. all of a sudden not as many buyers were obsessed with being green.

So the hybrid market itself will contract as well.

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Have you seen the CR-Z in person yet? It's fairly hideous.....

Really? I thought it looked pretty decent. However I am against all hybrids so I don't actually like it.

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Really? I thought it looked pretty decent. However I am against all hybrids so I don't actually like it.

It looks like someone took a hatchet to an Insight to trim it up a bit.

To be clear, are you talking about the concept or the more production model?

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That ginormous front overhang is more disturbing in person. The car lacks proportions. Honda has really lost it in design.

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You are correct sir, and that's your taste. It's just that I have never seen you be critical of any Honda designs. :P

I am critical of Honda designs quite often. Both on this forum and (moreso) on vtec.net. Perhaps my opinions aren't critical enough, given that the opinions expressed here are often over-the-top (using words such as hideous, terrible, crapbox, etc). I might even argue that I am one of the few people who is actually "critical" of Honda on this forum, while everyone else just enjoys to bash them.

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I am critical of Honda designs quite often. Both on this forum and (moreso) on vtec.net. Perhaps my opinions aren't critical enough, given that the opinions expressed here are often over-the-top (using words such as hideous, terrible, crapbox, etc). I might even argue that I am one of the few people who is actually "critical" of Honda on this forum, while everyone else just enjoys to bash them.

Well, I've expressed my affection for the Accord coupe styling multiple times here and regularly stick up for the Civic Hybrid as a delightful fuel efficient runabout.

THAT said, the CR-Z is hideous in person.

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The interior looks cheap compared to the Prius. I'm sure that puts a lot of people off. Honda's used to have pretty clean interior. The Insight looks busy and gimmicky.

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I am critical of Honda designs quite often. Both on this forum and (moreso) on vtec.net. Perhaps my opinions aren't critical enough, given that the opinions expressed here are often over-the-top (using words such as hideous, terrible, crapbox, etc). I might even argue that I am one of the few people who is actually "critical" of Honda on this forum, while everyone else just enjoys to bash them.

Uh huh.

Well if the newer ones weren't so ugly we wouldn't need such colorful adjectives. ;)

Many people on this board don't mind the styling of Honda's older models, because they weren't crimes against decent design.

I myself like the Accord coupe, especially since it takes all that's wrong with the sedan (lights that bulge out like tumors) and fixes them. I've said good things about the Civic. Fit's not bad either.

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CR-Z is one of those cars that are great as a concept but failed in execution.

Imagine a stylish, lightweight, sporty handling and inexpensive hatchback (like the original CR-X) but with an extra horsepower boost from the IMA system...

Instead, it's a slow and awkward looking Insight that's even more cramped and less efficient.

Edited by pow
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Well if the newer ones weren't so ugly we wouldn't need such colorful adjectives. ;)

Many people on this board don't mind the styling of Honda's older models, because they weren't crimes against decent design.

+1. Coming from someone whose other half owns a 6-speed 2005 TSX, which is a great fun to drive vehicle.

CR-Z is one of those cars that are great as a concept but failed in execution.

Imagine a stylish, lightweight, sporty handling and inexpensive hatchback (like the original CR-X) but with an extra horsepower boost from the IMA system...

Instead, it's a slow and awkward looking Insight that's even more cramped and less efficient.

This. Honda lost in terms of design and performance when they showed the production CRZ.

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This. Honda lost in terms of design and performance when they showed the production CRZ.

Especially if you compare it to the fairly attractive concept side by side.

post-1757-12651372945792.jpg

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I like the production more than the concept (discounting the larger wheels and lower stance, which would make the production version look even better).

Have not the seen the CR-Z in person yet, but I would be surprised if it didn't impress. It looks like Honda took the design language of the previous CRX and Insight, and put them into an attractive modern package.

crz_tov_01.jpg

crz_tov_02.jpg

Instead, it's a slow and awkward looking Insight that's even more cramped and less efficient.

Nobody has driven it yet so we don't know how it performs. If it's anything like the Insight then it is a bit underrated. Right now it's all guessing though.

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wow that overhang is excessive and butt ugly. honda sure is on an ugly roll lately. the concept had so much promise......

the side profile is plain visually unnerving seeing all that stuff hanging in front of the front axle....it's like 1/2 the car is floating out in nana land....

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It's not the size, it's the crappiness. And OMG that CR-Z in profile... ghastly! :yikes:

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