By on June 15, 2016

2011 Honda CR-Z EX red

We’re as certain as can be that the Honda CR-Z is dead. Defunct. Discontinued. Done for. Any other applicable d word you can think of.

Not only was the CR-Z long since discontinued in Europe and Australia, Honda is now offering a Final Label edition of the CR-Z in Japan, the company’s home market and the location of CR-Z assembly. Moreover, American Honda’s PR department already indicated to TTAC that they thought everybody knew the CR-Z was deceased, down the drain, discarded.

Dead, yes. But not yet departed. Honda’s U.S. dealers have plenty of CR-Z inventory. Don’t all storm the gates at once now. Tamp down that excitement. Let’s all remain calm.

Automotive News says that on June 1, 2016, there were an estimated 2,000 two-seat, hybrid CR-Zs in Honda’s U.S. inventory. AutoTrader’s inventory shows nearly 1,400 new CR-Zs at U.S. dealers; Cars.com has more than 1,500.

For a vehicle nameplate such as the Honda Civic, that wouldn’t be enough cars to get dealers through three days. American Honda averages roughly 32,000 Civic sales per month.

On the other hand, American Honda hasn’t quite sold 33,000 CR-Zs since the model’s late-2010 inception. The lion’s share of those sales occurred by the end of 2011, after which sales plunged by nearly two-thirds in 2012. By 2015, U.S. sales of the CR-Z were 73 percent lower than they were in 2011.

Not that the CR-Z was a particularly successful car in 2011. While Honda reported more than 10,000 sales of the CR-Z in the model’s first month on sale in Japan – presumably the result of a build-up in demand – the CR-Z was averaging fewer than 1,000 U.S. sales per month by the time the Hyundai Veloster arrived near the end of the year. The more spacious four-seat Veloster, sans hybrid but not that much less efficient than the CR-Z, produced more than 2,800 monthly sales during its launch in the fourth-quarter of 2011. Nearly 140,000 Velosters have been sold in the U.S. since the Hyundai’s arrival.2016 Honda CR-Z, Image: Honda

If Honda was still selling the CR-Z in 2011-like numbers, you’d be hard pressed to find one on a dealer’s lot just a couple of months from now (assuming no further CR-Z imports). But the CR-Z’s U.S. decline was so rapid, and the drop-off in demand so severe, that dealers will be left searching for customers for many months.

With 2,000 units in stock, Honda stores have a seven-month supply. Over the first five months of 2016, American Honda reported fewer than 200 CR-Z sales per month, on average. February’s result, only 128 sold, was the model’s worst month ever, down 93 percent from the CR-Z’s 1,819-unit record in April 2011. March was the CR-Z’s second-worst month ever. Year-over-year, U.S. Honda CR-Z sales in 2016’s first five months are down 11 percent.

Historically speaking, Honda isn’t terribly keen on providing the incentives required to quickly clear out discontinued product. The first-generation Honda Ridgeline, for example, ended production at the midway point of 2014, but dealers were still clearing out the last few copies of that truck early this year. The Honda Insight’s formal obituary was written two years ago, but American Honda still reports a handful of Insight sales every month.

With that in mind, don’t expect to find a 2016 CR-Z collecting dust behind your local Honda dealer with balloons attached to its wing mirrors, a gorilla on the roof, and a 50% Off placard on its hood. Granted, the evidence suggests you still probably wouldn’t be all that interested anyway.

[Image: Honda]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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56 Comments on “It’s Going To Take Forever For Dealers To Sell Remaining Honda CR-Zs...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    I’m looking forward to “TTAC Junkyard Find: Honda CR-Z” in about 15-20 years.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Honda Insight (fist generation) owners better hurry up. This is the best chance they have had to replace their cars in a long time.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I personally find them attractive, but what do I know? I liked the first gen 2-seater Insight, too.

    I can’t help but think that if they ditched the hybrid power train and made this a new CRX-Si it would have sold better. As it was, it was never particularly efficient nor sporty. Combine that with the limits of a 2-seater and their sales volume expectations could never have been very high.

  • avatar

    You are going to tell us about the VerticalScope data breach at some point?

    Sorry to post this here but I really don’t know exactly where or how to ask/report/question it.

    I changed my password 10 minutes ago. I recommend everyone here do the same.

    • 0 avatar

      Just to add to this, the article says the breach happened in February. Why haven’t we been alerted? Or did I miss something? I know that’s possible. I’m old.

      Article here: https://www.leakedsource.com/blog/verticalscope

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      TTACs credentials are managed by WordPress… I suspect it’s on a different system than most VerticalScope sites, which are discussion forums. Maybe the TTAC forum was affected, but I doubt this blog is.

      • 0 avatar

        You misunderstand sir.

        VerticalScope is the parent company of TTAC and several other automobile related websites. They own it and they have all the data, regardless of who’s hosting it.

        VerticalScope got hacked. 45 million logins, passwords, email addresses.

        It makes me upset that we haven’t been notified.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Password managers, folks. ever since I’ve moved to Lastpass I haven’t needed to worry about this s**t. You can have my TTAC password since it’s worthless anywhere else.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “We’re as certain as can be that the Honda CR-Z is dead. Defunct. Discontinued. Done for. Any other applicable d word you can think of.”

    You’re finished. Fertig! Verfallen! Verlumpt! Verblunget! Verkackt!

    – Lily Von Shtupp

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      It’s dead, Jim.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Is that a ten gallon gas tank or are you just enjoying the show?

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        Two Jims! Since I am McCoy, I get to say it again: It’s dead, Jim.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          Ye canna change the laws of… movie quotes. (We’re quoting Blazing Saddles and you Star Trek.)

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            Aye Captain(s). The dilithium crystals were contaminated with trilithium and I canna stop the oscillations. We went trans-warp into Blazing Saddles.

            Ok, trying to add something to the original post… the CR-Z isn’t bad looking, but a Ford Focus or Mazda3 is more fun, more practical, and they get decent mpg. No wonder the CR-Z died.

            I’m not sure who Honda was marketing to: Insight upgraders? New greenies? Or was the CR-Z an experimental playground to develop tech for the 2nd generation NSX? Or was it the other way around — discarded tech from the new NSX, repurposed for a hybrid car with a stick?

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Google “Johnny Carson Thesaurus Eulogy” for even more expressions!

      Still the king!

  • avatar
    yamahog

    It’s such a shame they were so close but so far.

    I’ve seriously looked at purchasing a CRZ, I test drove one and I really liked it. This and the V6 Camaro (in yellow, natch) are the only coupes I’d buy.

    But having a rare car sucks from a long term perspective. Yeah this car probably shares a lot of parts with other Hondas but finding things like windows / trim pieces can be an ordeal. My car sold 100k copies and some stuff is a real PITA to track down. I can’t imagine 30k examples providing a cache of parts for years to come.

    Also, Honda can be real bad about holding parts.

    If only they made an all-gas version with a K20 then they’d have some more sales and I could feel comfortable about buying a CR-Z.

    Maybe I should just wait until the V6 Camaro depreciates. Or get a Yellow ‘Stang.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The CR-Z could have been a success, if it weren’t so pathetic.

  • avatar

    Honda will provide additional rebates to dealers.

    Dealers can use them as service loaners first then sell them as used cars by retailing them or auctions.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    A 2-seater hybrid was just a dumb idea.

    The last thing you want in a sporty car that’s supposed to be all about handling is all the extra weight of a hybrid drivetrain. So you can save $5 a month on gas. Because that’s what people who buy “sports cars” without back seats care most about, fuel economy.

    I do think the car was good looking, and if they had put a token back seat and dropped the hybrid nonsense and instead put a decent engine in there with some zip they would have sold fine.

    • 0 avatar
      chris724

      The biggest problem with this car, is the MPG is so low for a 2 seater hybrid. If it got 50 or 60 MPG, they would have sold a lot more. But 36/39? I get that in my plain old ’99 Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        I still don’t think more mpgs would have solved the problem, the Honda Insight never sold very well either despite being one of the most fuel efficient vehicles you can buy (probably 2nd only to the Prius)

        The CR-Z deciding if it was about performance or fuel economy killed it. If you had made it with Prius fuel economy at the expense of acceleration and handling, it probably would have had even worse sales.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      “A 2-seater hybrid was just a dumb idea.”

      Right, because no one uses a Hybrid as a commuter car where they are the only person on board.

      The concept was sound, but the execution was lacking.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    If they have fire sale deals on them, they’ll move quickly. Had Honda called it the CRX instead of CR-Z, skipped the hybrid drivetrain, put a decent N/A motor in it and priced it accordingly, they would have sold more than they’ve sold thus far, but it probably wouldn’t have ever been a sales hit.

    This was a car that no one asked for.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    In early 2016, dealers still had unsold 2014 cr-z’s.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Speaking of oddball cars no one wants, dealers also have brand new 2014 C-Maxes on the lot. I tried to negotiate with one in NY state via Email.

      MSRP was something like $32k, their best price was $26xxx (which is what the mirror placard showed in the pics that had a Christmas tree beside the car in the showroom. I emailed the dude in June).

      I offered $20k as a starting price, never heard back. Oh well. Hopefully Honda dealers will be willing to deal on the CR-Zs.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        That must be a regional thing. Dealers around here are dealing aggressively on C-Maxes, but also selling them very quickly. I was shopping for a C-Max Energi for about three weeks before I pulled the trigger, and during that time the local dealers turned over most of their inventory, leaving me with a different set of color/config options than I had when I started shopping.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Dal, how/where are you getting 4% yield on cash in that account that you spoke of in the recent “Ask Bark” company man column?

          Is it liquid? Does it have a risk of loss of principal?

          (Serious question)

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      A couple of years ago my local Honda dealer had two or three leftover 13-14 CR-Z’s for around $14K. Not a bad deal if you need a inexpensive commuter or city car plus its the same price as a Smart. If you need a rear seat you can probably order a JDM one.

      As a former Prelude owner who always liked the CRX and CR-Z the the lack of a vestigial rear seat was a turn off as well as lack of a sun/moonroof option.

      • 0 avatar
        Eyeflyistheeye

        Unfortunately for them, Ford and Chevy will sell you a new Fiesta or Sonic for around that price after halfassed negotiation and throw in a rear seat for free.

        As for the rear seat, installing one in a USDM car not made for it can throw you into all kinds of legal limbo with your insurance company and the courts if someone gets hurt or killed riding in the back of your CR-Z not to mention that American Honda can absolve all liability by saying “The DOT approved this as a two-seater car.” I actually considered it when I saw the CR-Z fire sale and the rear seat issues led me into considering an Insight, but that went out of the door when all the Honda dealers had the “Honda tax” on even used models.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Was in line behind one of those dumbs..err..** smarts ** last week at Taco Hell, and I couldn’t get over the exhaust racket! Do those go through exhaust systems quickly, or do they just have a loud exhaust note? (Which would imply “sporty!” Which a smart isn’t! Not when the DSG in those could shake paint, if Interwebz lore is to be believed.)

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Hard to understand what Honda was thinking when they green lighted this car. A hybrid with poorer MPG , and 2 less seats than a Prius. This came during a period where Honda started losing ground and respect as being a leader in product tech and quality.(not to mention a WoW! factor) Honda was building mediocore products that there was little if any demand for. At the same time Honda was all a giggle playing with their HondaJet Project. Conclusion:They took their eye off the prize in more ways then one. I’m not sure they have learned their lessons yet. NSX , the next example??

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Yes, during that period, Honda was trying to find the plot they’d lost!

      This, 2nd-Gen Insight, Acura ZDX, and its overweight, overwrought cousin, the CrossTurd (and elephantine 8th-Gen Accord), and 9th-Gen “it’s-a-recession-so-peeps’ll-be-okey-dokey-with-a-cheaply-made” Civic are the egregious examples!

      With the 9th-Gen Accord, the ship started to right itself, and the 10-Gen Civic is hitting out of the park, but there have been some disconcerting early-build infotainment malfunctions, and it’s taking awhile for them to be resolved, so it isn’t all-good just yet. (We’ll see if Honda keeps a V6 option for the next Accord as well!) The launch of the new Oddysey this fall will also be crucial.

  • avatar

    I know they aren’t discounting them, but this much over sticker seems pretty absurd:

    http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=419672106&LNX=SOMEDTWVDP via @AutoTrader_com

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Given the (lack of) good mpg numbers, why would anyone buy this. The much-beloved Fiesta costs about the same, gets insignificantly lower MPG, and is a crapton more fun.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    This car would be perfect for my stepdaughter to replace her ’96 Civic. Slow, reliable and good on gas. But she can still do better for the same money these are fetching.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I like these cars, and have wanted to test drive a manual one for a while now. Four different Honda dealers I have either called or been to had none in stock. Finding one with a manual (that isn’t white) would probably drive me crazy if I was in a position to actually pull the trigger.

    Yes, I think it could look better. Yes, I think it would’ve sold better with a Civic Si engine. No, neither of those facts are enough to cause me to loathe it as most everyone else does.

  • avatar
    colin42

    I’ve always thought these would make perfect cars for young new drivers. Looks sporty (but isn’t). Only 2 seats (so not the colege taxi), and reasonable mpg.

  • avatar
    revjasper

    When Chevrolet sells twice as many electric cars with an 82 mile range than you sell hybrids, there’s something wrong. Nevermind that the Chevrolet is only available in three states. On the road in Portland, I’ve not seen a single CRZ in over a month. But I saw three Spark EVs today (not counting the one I was driving).

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Love me some Spark EV. Punchy as hell, hilariously small, impossibly affordable, great infotainment interface (albeit lousy sound). The 3.3 kW charger and hard plastic are for the birds, but it’s a cut-rate car. It was a close second to the 500e for me. How are you liking yours?

      • 0 avatar
        revjasper

        The little thing has been great so far. Only 3785 miles on the odometer so far, it has been perfect for my 42 mile round trip commute. On bad traffic days, I start to get upset about the hard plastic arm rest on the door, but that and two small rattles are my only complaints.

        Doing commuting duty, the lifetime efficiency is up to 131 MPGe, and it goes up all the time. Today’s commute was 177 MPGe. It’s fast enough to surprise other commuters, it cruises at 70 mph without a problem.

        The 3.3kW charger isn’t a problem, as I generally only use about half a charge per day. Plug it in at home at six, it’s charged by 9:30. Sure, I’d like a 6.6kW charger, but it would only be good if I was going to do some recreational driving out of town. But the Spark EV isn’t for that. There’s the Mercury Grand Marquis for the highway!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    What are you digging for dad, more lost E.T. cartridges?

    No son. Rumor has it that Honda buried the last 237 unsold CR-Zs in this landfill in 2019.

  • avatar
    fred0804

    A major problem with these that has not been mentioned is the ac will not function when the car is at a red light or stop sign or stuck in traffic. Could never live with that in the south!

    • 0 avatar
      letstakeawalk

      That simply isn’t true. The CR-Z climate control still operates when the car is stopped, and will override stop-start if needed to maintain the desired temps.

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