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.
Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.
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