Project Lead for Honda E Says Model Originally Intended for America

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
project lead for honda e says model originally intended for america

Since even before its debut, the Honda E has been showered with the kind of praise the American media usually reserves for controversial topics that split the nation, despite the model not being sold here. That’s likely fine. While its visual charms are undeniable, its small stature and electric powertrain probably wouldn’t do it any favors on the U.S. market. We could see it having an impressive first year before settling into a prolonged sales slump (think Fiat 500).

There are certainly alternative scenarios, but few involve Honda E supplanting the Civic. Being adorable will only take you so far. However, it seems Honda was originally willing to take a whack at it. The model’s product leader, Kohei Hitomi, said the little electric was always meant for America.

“I really wanted to have that one as well in the U.S.,” Kohei told Jalopnik at the Tokyo Motor Show, adding that the manufacturer originally intended to have the car sold in America.

“The U.S. was included in the beginning,” he said. “I personally wanted to see it.”

The decision to take North America out of the running happened roughly three years ago, with Kohei suggesting the company was fearful that the E would not encounter sufficient demand to make exporting it viable. We’re inclined to agree, reiterating that the vehicle likely would have seen strong initial demand in coastal regions and metropolitan hubs, but little interest in America’s center mass.

However, Kohei acknowledged that the vehicle’s reception in the U.S. has been overwhelmingly positive. “I somehow expect that what we discussed three years ago may be recovered,” he teased.

While the positive press the Honda E has received here in the West is pretty overwhelming (try and find a truly negative article), that doesn’t guarantee the manufacturer is taking a second look at our market. Prepping the model for North America would undoubtedly require modifications, with the potential for some to be quite costly. Honda has already made that decision, disappointing us by making what was likely the right call.

[Image: Honda]

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2 of 9 comments
  • Indi500fan Indi500fan on Oct 23, 2019

    Honda must have a bipolar styling dept. This little rig really looks nice, and their SUVs are attractively conservative. But that it's garish. If fuel prices were high again (I just filled my Caddy with Shell Top Tier for 2.19/gal) this rig with a small gas motor would be a winner. A Mini with Honda pricing and reliability.

  • KOKing KOKing on Oct 23, 2019

    I'd be willing to redirect my CTR money that the Honda dealers don't want into this thing instead.

  • ToolGuy VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.