By on July 31, 2014

2011-Honda-Fit-EV-007-550x358

It’s official: the Honda Fit EV and Insight have been discontinued.

Edmunds reports the Insight will cease production later this summer, while inventory will be available at dealerships through the end of 2014. Meanwhile, the Fit EV — of which 1,100 were ever going to be built for the United States market — will remain in production until sometime this autumn, with Honda providing customer support through each vehicle’s lease period.

As for the future, representative Sage Marie said the automaker would focus on “a new generation of electromotive technologies,” such as the expanded use of its two-motor hybrid system found in both the Accord Hybrid and Accord Plug-In Hybrid. In addition, a decision will be announced regarding the FCX Clarity, especially with a successor — influenced by the FCEV from last year’s LA Auto Show — waiting in the wings.

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41 Comments on “Honda Fit EV, Insight Discontinued...”


  • avatar
    mjz

    They were both sales duds, not a big surprise.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The Fit EV is a compliance car. It was never intended to be produced in large numbers, and it almost surely generated a loss.

    • 0 avatar
      zerofoo

      I considered the Fit EV at $259/mo. with unlimited mileage, home charger, and collision and comprehensive insurance included.

      It was almost a great deal. The 85 mile charge limit scared me away.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Why did the Insight do so poorly? I know it had a weak launch and initially the suspension was horrible but otherwise it seemed to be a decent alternative to the Prius.

    • 0 avatar
      M1EK

      Only if you’re one of those people who believed that the only thing the Prius had going for it was its distinctive shape. Insight had worse mileage, worse finish, and was smaller and cheaper-feeling.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      It looked cheap and wasn’t much more economical than the Fit.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It wasn’t a decent alternative to the Prius. It was much worse.

      Honda’s only saving grace was that it was cheaper, which lasted as long as it took Toyota to bring the Prius C to market.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      In addition to being qualitatively worse than the Prius, I never got over just much the Insight looked almost exactly like a Prius (I’m sure to many people they were essentially indistinguishable). I realize it’s a very practical shape for this kind of car, but it always seemed to me that Honda made no effort to make it stand out. If they couldn’t count on any “I just liked the way it looked better” kind of sales, what’s the point?

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Honda did make hybrids that looked like normal cars, and they didn’t sell. So they tried making a hybrid that looked like the hybrid that does sell well.

        And it didn’t sell.

        The reason is that people buy hybrids because they’re a) practical, and b) fuel-efficient. The first Insight and the hybrid Accord & Civic flunked both a) and b) by being cramped, slower and expensive while not being all that great at the pumps; the Insight did okay at a) (but it was noisy and ill-handling) and still flunked b).

        The Prius is a roomy, spacious, reasonably quick car that gets great mileage at not a huge price premium; put aside the lack of driving involvement and there’s no real, quantitative downside to it.

        Honda has the same problem that GM has*: they tend to think they know better than their customers, and they’re tremendously arrogant. They’ll make a product and assume it will sell because they made it and they’ll rarely admit they’re wrong.

        Sometimes this is a good thing: it gives you focus and makes you innovative. Other times it means you develop answers to questions no one is asking, and get snitty when no one appreciates your brilliance.

        * This is different from Toyota. Toyota isn’t arrogant, they’re paranoid.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          With 255 hp, the 2005 Accord Hybrid was about as fast as an E36 M3. It was also the first hybrid with an A/C compressor that ran with the engine shut off, making it desirable for summer commuting around the beltway, where traffic is often stationary and the climate could best be described as swamp-like. It came out just as I moved from Alexandria, so I don’t know if it was granted free reign of the HOV lanes, which was the single biggest sales driver for the Prius and Civic hybrid, two cars which made up a sizable percentage of rush hour traffic there in 2004. Considering the number of government-teat-suckers that could afford to drive almost anything but were sweating in small hybrids for solo HOV access, I thought the Accord hybrid would have a decent regional market.

          • 0 avatar
            M1EK

            The Prius, at least the 2004 generation and up, always ran A/C on electric. Not sure what you’re referring to here if not that car.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            If you read the reviews of the 2005 Accord, they specify that it was the first hybrid that doesn’t need to run its engine at lights to fully cool. Others may have kept their fans going, but the compressor was idle if the engine wasn’t spinning.

            http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/honda-accord-hybrid-road-test-efficiency-tricks-page-4

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            @CJ:

            The reviews were wrong. Our 2004 Prius runs the A/C compressor from the HV power supply, with the engine stopped.

            The compressor is as loud as the engine, but it’s one small cylinder. It can also use up that 1.3KWH in the battery a lot quicker than you’d expect, which will cause the gas engine to start so that it can replenish the battery.

            But, overall, it works great. I’m eagerly waiting for a plugin hybrid minivan with the same feature.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            My bad. I thought Car and Driver still had some credibility a decade ago.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            My father in law has an Accord hybrid from that era and it doesn`t offer much of a fuel economy bonus. There is a reason why no-one else (including the leader Toyota, as well as Honda itself) has replicated a “performance hybrid”. Is it so hard to admit Honda got it wrong with the Accord Hybrid which had last figures I saw >200 days to turn, the CRZ and the Insight?

            Interesting that you think Pentagon workers, supporting our troops, are teat-suckers. Such gross generalisations.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            The ’06 and later Civic Hybrids could also run their air conditioners without the internal combustion engine running. But Honda implemented this by having TWO a/c compressors: a big one (belt-driven by the engine) plus a small one (electrically driven by its own motor). I always figured that was just Honda being Honda (ie. building things needlessly complicated just because they do that sometimes), but Luke42′s comment about the Prius’ a/c quickly running down the battery sheds some light on Honda’s design decision to make the electrically-driven compressor small (and thus a lighter load on the a/c). That said, the small a/c could only keep up if the interior was already cooled off (and the gas engine fully warmed up). I still believe that Honda should have just used a single, large, electrically-driven compressor, but what do I know…

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            “If you read the reviews of the 2005 Accord, they specify that it was the first hybrid that doesn’t need to run its engine at lights to fully cool.”

            Where did they say that?

        • 0 avatar
          Occam

          The Hybrid Accord was a whole different philosophy of hybrid. Rather than a small engine with electric power to assist, it was a 240 HP V6 with an electric engine bolted on – take an already powerful V6 and toss on a electric motor for extra low end kick, and some improvement to fuel economy.

          Greenies didn’t want a hybrid that got normal midsized car economy, and pistonheads didn’t want the word Hybrid anywhere near the car.

        • 0 avatar

          Well judging by the 2014 Accord Hybrid—which is, IMO, *excellent*—they may have learned their lesson on that one.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Yeah, Honda was quite arrogant when I was locked in a lemon battle with them over my 05 Odyssey. They simply couldn’t believe the car (and their service) was bad. The lemon court said otherwise.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t get how anyone can think the Prius and the Insight are indistinguishable. Yes, they are the same shape, but the devil is in the details. There is a real homeliness about the Prius, and the Insight is a pretty car, and definitely one of the better looking of the current crop of cars. It’s a shame the Insight was just not a very good car, quality-wise or in terms of efficiency.

        • 0 avatar
          Sloomis

          I thought the Insight was a lot better looking than the Prius too. I know not just one but two people who actually bought Insights and they both love ‘em. The one claims she can average 50 mpg commuting.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          The Insight was high-quality, inasmuch as it was very reliable.

          It just wasn’t very good to drive; like a Fit in terms of NVH, but without much of the Fit’s joie de vivre.

          You had to walk past both the Prius, Fit and (eventually) the Prius C to make a case for the Insight. It did better when Honda cut the price on it, but by that point it was also not making Honda much money.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      As with the Civic, Honda zagged when the market zigged. The 2g Insight was intended as a sort-of bargain-bin Prius alternative, but people who actually had money to buy cars wanted refinement along with their lofty mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      TheyBeRollin

      In spite of my low expectations in general on commuting cars (seats, steering wheel, and pedals that move it when you tell it to), it goes beyond “penalty box” into the realm of truly hateful sh!tboxes, especially in the context of the era. The oversteer, road noise, awful seats, and plastics just knocked it clean out of the park. The only way I could imagine someone purchasing one of these is through blind brand loyalty. With a Fit anywhere on the lot, it seems like even a fanboy would think twice…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Predictable. But surprisingly, there is only a 5-month supply of Insights in stock.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I wonder how many billions were wasted developing these products.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      Yeah, but this is Honda, who wasted God knows how many brain cells and yen on their new HondaJet. This is the same company that acts like a Yo-Yo regarding participating in Formula One. And, how many billions were wasted on sucking the life out of Acura?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I don’t generally listen to women with the first name Sage.

  • avatar
    scrubnick

    The Fit EV was hardly a slow seller. I don’t believe it was available in many parts of the country but where it was available, there was and still is quite a wait to get one. Honda probably loses money on them so they don’t want to crank out too many.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I am sure Steve Lang is sad today.

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      Lol, I remember seeing that little blue Insight with the red “Used Vehicle Dealer” tag driving around. It, along with a first gen Prius, was at that little lot I later learned was Steve’s dealership.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    I knew the Insight was waving goodbye for a while, but the Fit EV’s departure is a shock. It would’ve been nice if they started selling them nationwide, like Nissan did with the Leaf, but resources and stuff.

    It makes sense that they’re discontinuing both of the cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      But they loose money on everyone sold. That is why they only sold them where they had to, it was a compliance vehicle designed to prevent them from needing to purchase ZEV credits. It would not have made any sense at all to sell them someplace that didn’t generate a ZEV credit.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Has the CR-Z (that is the allegedly sporty one right?) already been axed, or is that still on the block?

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I have a hard time getting my mind around why the Insight bombed so badly, as well. Yeah, the Prius hatchback was better, but was it several grand worth of better? That’s how much cheaper the Insight was in comparison. In fact, the Insight actually lined up much closer to the smaller Prius ‘c’, price-wise.

    If the Prius c was that much better than the Insight, fair enough. But I’m not sure it really was and it seemed quite disingenuous for reviewers to compare the Insight with the standard Prius hatchback when there was a big price premium to get into a comparably-equipped Prius. Not to mention that the Insight did have a better, more integral look than the similarly shaped Prius.

  • avatar
    redav

    The Fit EV is a compliance car. It makes sense they only lease them and in limited numbers.

    But they have to have such a car, so what will they introduce to replace it? Whatever it is, it needs to be better than the Fit EV, either cheaper to produce or somehow advances their technology. I don’t see the Clarity picking up the slack for compliance, and I don’t think they can abandon BEVs.

    As for the Insight, I thought it got canned a long time ago.

  • avatar

    And what about the CR-Z? Or do they even sell it anymore?


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