By on February 26, 2014

2010_Honda_Insight_LX_--_10-03-2009

Sales of the slow-selling Honda Insight will end, with Bloomberg reporting that production will end this month. Despite being released before the Toyota Prius, the Insight has lagged far behind it in sales.

 

While the Prius is the best-selling hybrid of all time, the second generation Insight has been heavily criticized for delivering an inferior driving experience and using a less sophisticated hybrid system. Sales of the Honda Civic Hybrid have far outstripped the Insight, with inventories ballooning to 237 days worth of supply, according to data from¬†Automotive News.¬†The equally slow-selling CR-Z could conceivably meet a similar fate in the not too distant future. Here’s hoping that the Fit Hybrid takes up the slack.

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54 Comments on “Honda Insight Gets The Axe...”


  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    It probably didn’t sell as well because it is ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Bingo! Especially the first one, which was released when hybrids weren’t in style.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      It didn’t sell because it’s small, under-powered, loud, stiff riding, not as efficient as a Prius, and plagued by reliability issues with it’s battery pack (like most Honda IMA cars)

      Most importantly however, it couldn’t pull off the compulsory hybrid party trick: creep under electric power alone.

  • avatar
    Josh_Howard

    You don’t beat the Prius by being an inferior Prius. The effort of this car and the CR-Z was quite lack-luster compared to what customers expected.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Their mistake with the CR-Z was using the CR-Z name, or rather the “CR” label, which instantly excited 30 year olds who remember the 90s one. They got all excited and told their mom about it, then it was just a lame hybrid, which wasn’t great to drive nor as efficient as the original gas version.

      If it had been called Civic SI Hybrid Coupe or Insight Touring or something, I think it would have fared a little better. Hell, give it a glass panel roof and call it a Del Sol.

      • 0 avatar
        Brian P

        Or they should have done what many people suggested … skip the hybrid powertrain and just put in the regular Civic SI powertrain, so that it would have been a proper follow-up to the CRX. Unfortunately, Honda was in the midst of an ill-fated hybrid binge at the time the CR-Z came out.

      • 0 avatar
        Atum

        Insight Touring?

        I don’t think 30 year olds want a vacuum in their car.

  • avatar
    ant

    It is my understanding that there will be no hybrid variant of the next gen Fit sold in North America.

    There is absolutely no reason to buy a Honda Insight when the Prius C is available.

    The CRZ is interesting in that it is available with a manual.

  • avatar
    geeber

    It seemed as though Honda was taking a page from the GM playbook with the Insight – “It’s not as good as a Prius, but it’s cheaper.”

    That approach ultimately didn’t work for GM, and it obviously hasn’t worked for Honda. These were always a major disappointment to me.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Sort of Honda’s first approach to the current Civic. They offered a cheaper car, and in the face of the backlash had a refresh ready for the next model year. No such love for the Insight.

      Isn’t the Insight a car that turns off the A/C when stopped? No wonder no one’s buying it.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Yeah, Honda misread the market badly at that time. The Civic got an emergency refresh since it’s one of their cash cows. The Insight was not critical, and the new hybrid setup in the Accord makes it wholly obsolete.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    less rare earth mining and slave children dying in the pits? horray?!!?!

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’m still holding out hope that the CR-Z eventually becomes a desperation sale and I can get one for super cheap.
    About a month ago I went to a Honda dealer to test drive a used one and when I was leaving he asked if I’d be interested in a new one (the used one had very low miles and was certified, but it had worn like it was 10 years old). When I objected that with the used market being overflowing with them it made no sense to buy new, he suggested he could get me a good deal on a brand new 2012 model…

  • avatar
    krayzie

    Time to recruit an outside design house to fix their design directions.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Is it going to stay dead this time? I’ve never particularly liked this car, either the current or original c. 1998.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    With an hybrid vehicle offering, either you do it right and go all the way, or better don’t do it at all.

    Honda’s IMA drivetrains were first-down measures back when they were introduced. A first down will provide further advancement opportunities. But if you don’t next run the ball properly, your competitor will take it away from you.

  • avatar
    TheOtherLew

    It’s misleading to say that the Honda Insight was released before the Toyota Prius. It’s true that the original 2-seat, 3-door Insight (1999-2006) was released before the Prius. It’s also true that the 2-seater was essentially in a different category from the Prius. The current 5-door Insight, which competes directly against the Prius, was not introduced until 2009, several years after the Prius had already succeeded in dominating the market for hybrids.

    • 0 avatar
      daver277

      I was heartbroken when the CR-Z finally showed up as I thought it would be the perfect replacement for my ’00 Insight.
      Unfortunately, It is 1000 pounds heavier than I hoped for with corresponding loss of performance and especially fuel economy.

      With my 5 speed Insight I’m virtually immune to rising fuel prices BTW.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        That makes 3 posts in a row complaining about the weight of one of the lightest cars in production today. Really?? Welcome to the modern world where cars have grown beyond what you could get away with in the 90s. The original Insight was 1900 lbs and is about as comfortable as a Honda 600, performs about the same too. It was an extreme compromise vehicle designed for ultimate efficiency. What in the world would make you think that Honda could build a modern car that meets all the modern safety standards and has all the expected modern conveniences, has double the HP and actually pretty decent performance and road manners and is relatively inexpensive yet still weighs only 1700 lbs? My MR2 Spyder is barely a car and weights like 2200 lbs and cost more than the Honda does, the Lotus Elise is even less of a car and weighs 2000 lbs, and its already mostly aluminum and doesn’t meet current safely regs either, at double the price of the CRZ.

        I would agree that the mileage simply isn’t that great, especially compared to the original Insight and the Prius. But in the real world drivers are reporting MPG in the 40s regularly, there are relatively few cars that can match it and are still fun to drive, and it is available as a stick. Also, from what I have read the Jackson Racing supercharger kit really wakes up the car’s performance with essentially no hit on mileage in day to day driving.

        • 0 avatar
          Scott_314

          Excellent rant mnm4ever. I agree. The CRZ is one of my favorite cars. Reasons?

          1. Others hate it.
          2. Excellent on gas. Since journalists hated it from the start, they wrung it out for getting as low as 25mpg when bagged to hell on a mountain race course, and us ‘enthusiasts (who are really just drivers of oversized sedans) ate it up.
          3. Small, surprisingly manoevreable, good power.
          4. Looks wicked.

          Honestly, remember Jack’s article on the Wobble? Journalists need a car to hate on now and then, and they picked the CRZ.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            Thanks @Scott! I wasnt trying to rant so much, it just really bugs me when these supposed “best and brightest” come up with completely unreasonable expectations… 250hp, 50mpg, 1700 lbs and $15k, fully loaded of course. I see them pull the same cr@p with the FRS/BRZ, and lately with the new Alfa. If a car doesn’t have 300hp, do 0-60 in under 5 seconds and cost less than $20k its considered junk.

            Who cares if there is no car on the market that meets these criteria, or even close to it. But if the manufacturers would build one, well then they would buy their first new car is 18 years, but until then nope, not going to spend any money! There will never be a car that will satisfy them.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          The weight gripes are legitimate in a world where the Mitsubishi Mirage weighs 1900 pounds, and there are another dozen-plus superminis and subcompacts sold in the US that weigh less than the CR-Z’s 26-2700 pounds.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            @bumpy – The Mirage is an extreme example, and it is the very definition of penalty box… not nearly as high quality as the CRZ. Except for a couple of ultra small cars, the bulk of the light weight club is 2300-2500 lbs. I wonder how much the CRZ gives up to the hybrid drivetrain and battery? And I never said they couldn’t get it to weigh less, but @daver wants it to weigh 1700 lbs… 1000 lbs less that it does now and 200 lbs less than the Mirage you pointed out. Which, by the way, gets only slightly better gas mileage than the CRZ does while both looking cheap and driving like a turd.

        • 0 avatar
          niky

          The CR-Z weighs around 200 pounds more than the Prius C, with the same sized engine, while offering less cargo room, no back seat (and, in markets where it does get a back seat, like mine, a back seat that hardly fits a child, even with the front seat pulled far forward) and a shorter footprint.

          And this is despite not having a electric motor or battery pack big enough to run on electricity alone, or even to sit in traffic with the AC on and the engine off.

          Granted, other small cars, like the MINI Cooper, are just as heavy, but you automatically expect more of Honda.

          Also, the Mirage (which drives like a bouncy castle compared to the CR-Z) gets 50 mpg plus economy much more easily than the CR-Z. Better aero, lighter weight, more efficient motor. As does the Prius.

          This doesn’t take anything away from how the CR-Z drives. It’s an absolute blast to hoon, and if you don’t hoon it, it gets decent economy… but Honda’s IMA hybrid system is absolutely horrid compared to the competition. Perhaps with a simpler stop-start system, instead, you could improve economy in most situations, giving up only that extra element of electric boost during acceleration.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            I want to be clear… this argument is moot, as the buyers have not embraced the CRZ at all, while the Prius C and other more practical economy cars are selling quite well. So I already know I am wrong before I say it!

            But the CRZ was supposed to be the sexy sporty coupe for people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Prius C or a Mirage. My wife, for example, would NEVER consider any of the other cars that have been discussed in this thread, she wouldn’t even consider an Insight. But she goes gaga over the CRZ. If she didn’t love her MR2 so much, or if she had to commute to a job every day and cared about the gas mileage, then we would definitely have one for her. Even myself, if I HAD to get a hybrid or a small economy car, the only one I would consider is the CRZ, I don’t care if I give up a few MPGs and the electric creep, this is the only one that looks cool.

            Honda was hoping to sell on style and driving fun, while throwing in a bit of extra economy and the hybrid cache as well. Clearly that didn’t work out as planned. But I am just saying I do get what they were trying to do and I don’t think it was such a bad plan.

          • 0 avatar
            Scott_314

            Comparing it to the Mirage is comical. Why not compare it to a 1991 Geo Metro?

            Edit – not to be a sarcastic jerk but I agree with MNM – the CR-Z was never really evaluated on its own, just compared unfavorably to other cars. It’s not as practical or fuel efficient as a Prius, true, or as sport as a Miata, also true.

    • 0 avatar
      SpinnyD

      The Insight was only released before the Prius in the US, In Japan the Prius was out a year before the Insight.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    This Car , more than any other current Honda/Acura product shows just how far off the tracks Honda management really is. At a time when Prius had 50+ mpg numbers , Honda decided to go well below that figure and because it will costs less than a Prius it would sell like hotcakes. Duh? Why do people buy Hybrids?
    Honda’s reputation as a tech leader gets trashed and Honda goes the Wal-Mart route. Now the same group of morons plan on someday re-introducing the NSX and they will put the ugly-corporate “clown Face” on the front end that no one seems to like , yet Honda refuses to give up. IT’s the single biggest reason many Acura’s don’t sell. So management says “lets incorporate the look to the new NSX”!?!
    The current Insight has been dead from the beginning , yet management kept it going. Why? The answer is simple. They are crazy drunk on their success selling Accords , Civis, and CRV’s.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I had similar thoughts after reading the article. Honda just in the last few years has missed on Crosstour, Element, S2000, CRZ, and now this. You highlight things well, the only reason the company is not in more trouble for losing money on those five models is the bread and butter cars continue to make money.

      • 0 avatar
        daver277

        The Crosstour is simply embarrassing, the S2000 and CR-Z are 1.3 x too big.

        As for the Element, it’s very pragmatic and looks way better than the H-2 & 3 which seem to be well accepted by wanabee Rambos…..

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Let me respectfully decline that notion.
          This is obviously a snard remark made out of personal complications.

          How can you compare two totally different vehicles with different purposes to each other?

          “Rah rah rah, the Yaris is crap compared to my new Lamborghini.”
          See.. Neither is bought by the same buyer.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The only thing surprising to me is that they still make it. I thought they had stopped producing it a year or two ago.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Both of these cars are extreme bargains in the used market. The Insight is commonly available for $10-12k or so, for 2010-2012 models with low mileage. And I have seen several CRZs for a little bit more, the best one recently was a red 2013 EX with 4k miles for $13k. If it was a stick I would have bought it, my wife loves them but insists on a stick and it would make a fun commuter. They are both much cheaper than any other used Honda or Toyota of similar age/mileage.

    The strange thing is there is no incentives at all on the new ones, which I think is a bigger reason they do not sell. You can get a better lease/finance/discount on a Civic and the MPG just isn’t that much better to warrant a big jump in cost. And the Civics are more practical and a tad nicer too.

    • 0 avatar
      stadt

      I bought an Insight new in 2012 (long story) and got it for below invoice.

      That being said, I would guess that they aren’t provided with factory discounts because, being made in Japan, they’re already at a disadvantage. I’ve even read that they lose money with each sold.

    • 0 avatar
      Varezhka

      Wow, I didn’t know CR-Z was going for that cheap in the used market. Now I have to take a look.

      I had the chance to test drive it when it first came to market. I thought it was a pretty neat car with great concept, but needed a generation or two worth of polishing. The steering was sharp but lacked feel. That extra initial electric boost was really nice, but there was no engine to take over when you wind it, so it ran out of breath early.

      I personally think replacing the steering with a good electro-hydraulic system and replacing the current 1.5 L-engine with a more rev happy engine of same displacement could potentially make a lot of difference. I do wonder how much the 2013 motor update improved the car.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Looking at the support it got from its makers, and Hondas current lineup , the Insight was probably just a test mule for most of it’s latest generation. I don’t think anyone will miss it now that the Accord can achieve similar mpg’s, while still beig a proper car. And the European Civic with it’s new 1.6 diesel gets the same gas mileage in city driving as the Insights theoretic average…

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Honda was first in North America with a hybrid and has done a stunning job of offering the wrong products, with the wrong technology, in the wrong wrappers ever since.

    The follow up to the original Insight, which was a hypermilers dream, was the V6 hybrid Accord that used hybrid technology to improve performance – not mileage. Customers didn’t buy it (interestingly, the concept was ahead of its time by about 15 years).

    Then they went up against the Prius, which makes an immediate, “look at me I’m saving the planet,” statement by its body style with a badged Civic. The first offering was from a performance and MPG standpoint competitive, but no one “knew” you were driving a hybrid.

    Then they had the battery life, computer reprogram, nope you won’t get the MPG we told you issue in the next gen Civic hybrid.

    The new Insight was basically a crappy version of a Prius with inferior technology and an interior made by Coleman.

    The CR-Z is just mind boggling to me. They positioned it wrong, they ramped it up wrong, and the nod to the CR-X is just bone headed.

    The thing that baffles me about the CR-Z is the cure is so simple, Si trim and V-Tec. Problem solved.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “The thing that baffles me about the CR-Z is the cure is so simple, Si trim and V-Tec. Problem solved.”

      I’ve often thought that direction would have made a lot of sense to give that car more mainstream, or at least enthusiast appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I 100% agree, I simply cannot understand why they don’t drop in a VTEC engine and offer an Si version. Even the older K20 would be great, doesn’t have to be the K24 (though that would be nice too).

      But what everyone always forgets is that the original CRX was not an Si. The Si wasn’t even the volume seller. The regular old CRX DX was the original and most popular model, and it basically was a base model Civic underneath a sexy 2-seater body. Just like the CRZ. They also had the CRX HF, which for it’s time would be directly equivalent to the CRZ hybrid.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Isn’t Honda now offering a special factory performance package developed specifically for the CR-Z? That move makes sense to me, and helps give the car a clearer “mission.”

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          @geeber – excellent find, I didn’t know they were doing that! I wonder if it is the same Jackson Racing kit that you can buy separately? Seems like a very complete package… upgraded clutch, LSD, upgraded brakes. It will be interesting to see how much it costs. The JR kit is $4-5k depending on tune, and doesn’t include the LSD or clutch. But considering the deal you can get on a very slightly used CRZ you can build a pretty capable CRX-Si successor for under $20k. A new CRZ already starts a lot higher than that, plus the typical HPD markup that could make for a $30k car quick which would be way too expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        I would love to see a CR-Z stripped down to the bare essentials, with nothing but that 1.5 liter motor (hopefully retuned for 130 hp all on its own… though the current 120 is not bad) and about 300-400 pounds less weight.

        A machine with such pure handling goodness deserves a stripped-out model.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          @niky – It’s been done… a lot I believe… but here is one:

          http://www.hondatuningmagazine.com/features/htup_1104_2010_honda_crz/

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            K20, hell yes, but I was talking more along the lines of a production unit with a cheaper, more modern motor… say the R18, which is not bad and should do well in a CR-Z without the added weight of the hybrid system.

    • 0 avatar
      Atum

      Some hippie vegetarian artist woman from Arizona that was on Wife Swap had one of those Accord Hybrids, and she drove it while the rest of her family walked long distances.

      Killed my interest in them. Not to mention the batteries.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    In addition to its other shortcomings, the Insight is really small inside.

    A 237-day supply means there are roughly 2900 of these cars languishing on dealer lots, which works out to be a 5-day supply of the Prius. No doubt there will be Insight specials all year long.


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