Honda Swings Axe, Ends Life of One Model, Two Fun Variants
Honda, perhaps taking a cue from domestic manufacturers, has decided to diminish its passenger car ranks.
Reported today by Automotive News, the automaker has decided to discontinue the Honda Fit in the U.S., while also killing off the Honda Civic coupe and ending manual transmission availability in the Accord.
The Fit’s looming disappearance doesn’t come as a shock; Honda introduced a fourth-generation model overseas last year and omitted any mention of the United States. Sales of the model have declined year after year as domestic buyers move away from small cars and into crossovers of all sizes. Production of the current model will thus dry up in Mexico.
“We are discontinuing one car, but for us the real story is how committed we are to our core car products,” said Gary Robinson, Honda’s assistant vice president of product planning. “We’re going to be very much focused on the Civic and the Accord, which effectively created the image of the Honda brand in the U.S.”
The Civic remains a favorite among compact car shoppers due to its plethora of body styles and available power choices, but come 2021, the Canadian-built Civic coupe will be no more. One reason for the demise of both the Civic coupe and the Fit is the rising popularity of the Civic hatchback, which will see production come to the U.S. next year. Currently, Civic hatches hail from the UK.
Matt Sloustcher, head of PR at American Honda, expanded on this reasoning in reply to a Twitter lament:
I hear you. Fit and Civic transact about $2k apart in the market, so the Honda value proposition for entry cars is still very strong. Civic Hatch offers more space, performance and refinement, so buyers get more car for their dollar. And CPO market is strong and growing.
— Matt Sloustcher (@SF_Matt) July 17, 2020
With the coupe’s demise, the model’s Si range drops to one body style: the sedan. However, Si models won’t be available for 2021 — a temporary move as the automaker pursues development of a next-generation car.
While the loss of a manual transmission in the Accord stands to sadden the fewest would-be buyers among the cars mentioned here, it’s still a loss for the row-your-own community. Paired only with the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder in Sport guise, the stick’s take rate couldn’t have been very high, to put it mildly. Manual transmission take rate plunged towards 1 percent among U.S. car buyers last year — a rate topped even by EV sales.
Perhaps ominously, Robinson said “important changes” are coming for the Civic, without mentioning what those might be. The model stands to gain a revamp for 2022, so stay tuned on that.
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