By on July 17, 2020

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:

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.

2019 Honda Accord Touring white - Image: Honda

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.

[Images: Honda]

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58 Comments on “Honda Swings Axe, Ends Life of One Model, Two Fun Variants...”


  • avatar

    “We are committed to the Accord and Civic so we are killing a Civic because we are so committed to it. It is our core product.”

    Marketing man talking in circles.

    The economy coupe segment has been dead since about 2002, so this Civic move makes sense. And the Fit was old and lowm margin, so why not kill it? It has no credibility to anybody but economy skinflints, and the majority are happy to buy a Civic, or failing that, an HRV.

    • 0 avatar

      The fit had really good packaging and was kinda fun to drive. But as mentioned 2K between it and a civic doesn’t leave a lot of room. I think when there was no civic hatch option it made sense but now, I a liker of small hatchs, would likley go civic if I was getting a Honda.

      I’m amazed they still make the coupe hell I was amazed when they still made it in 2009.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The biggest problem with the Fit is that’s not Fit for anything but in-town driving. It’s way too loud on the highway.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          It’s too loud on the highway, if a significant share of your driving in on the highway.

          If 90% of it’s time, 70% of miles, is driven in the San Francisco, it’s perfectly fine even doing an trip to LA or Bozeman now and then. It’s only once extended highway driving starts being a common usage, rather than an occasional one, that other alternatives start looking obviously better.

          • 0 avatar
            baggins

            I agree its a classic city car, but there arent enough buyers who drive a car 90% of the time in a city to live by that alone.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The consolidation of Honda’s production landscape continues, with the automaker announcing Tuesday that it will cease production of passenger vehicles in Argentina next year. Honda builds the subcompact HR-V at its Campana assembly plant; come 2020, the facility will revert back to building only motorcycles. Thetruthaboutcars

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      No more Civic coupe and no more manual in an Accord Sport. Oh well, because of fading options everywhere else I was going to seriously consider a Honda next time. No more.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m sure Honda was really banking on your serious consideration in a few years, where maybe you might buy their product.

        They need the money now.

        • 0 avatar
          Steve Biro

          I get that Corey. But this is – or at least I thought is – a site for enthusiasts. Vehicle choice is disappearing before our eyes. And there’s one more brand I needn’t bother with. I’m sure there are plenty of others who feel the same way.

          I suspect dealers are a big part of the problem. At the end of the day, most sales people – with some exceptions – are lazy. So they stock up on what they know they can unload quickly. The take rate for manuals and coupes might be higher – not at the level of automatics and CUVs – but higher than it is, if they would stock more. Cars are becoming more boring by the week.

          But there’s also something wrong with the entire global financial system. Companies that got through the Great Depression can’t make it today because the markets won’t tolerate anything but the most unreasonable returns. But then, they’ll jump on board with Tesla.

          • 0 avatar

            The OEMs always follow that money, so we will continue to see the model axing. Especially considering what a cluster F 2020 and probably 2021 will be.

            But I very much agree that our financial system is fully broken, and based upon ridiculous growth and in the absence of such, fast collapse.

          • 0 avatar
            MrIcky

            So your theory is that the decline in manuals is because salespeople are lazy because they keep what sells in stock, and they don’t stock up on things that don’t sell well? You do sense the logic failure there right.

            Isn’t it more likely that dealers got burned by buying a car (with a manual) that sat on the lot for months, then they had to unload it cheap?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I get the sentiment, but the Si with 4 doors is still an enthusiast vehicle. Where are you going to go in that segment that is better?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            “Isn’t it more likely that dealers got burned by buying a car (with a manual) that sat on the lot for months, then they had to unload it cheap?”

            As long as there are some options one can leverage this from time to time, but it isn’t sustainable. In my Challenger the stick was standard and the auto optional, but I’d have paid more for the manual. I wish they’d just start offering them as a for cost option on more stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            While manuals are no doubt less popular than before, their flat out death in the US, is 100% on account of the “welfare for idle, connected clown ‘franchise owners\'” ban on Honda selling through Amazon or any such national reach dealer.

            1-5% of Accord sales in the US, is more than total Accord (or whatever the equivalent is called over there) sales in many Euro countries. It’s not something Honda would just give up on, were it not for our particular idiotopia’s obsession with enriching connected idles at the expense of all else, including distribution efficiency.

          • 0 avatar
            MorrisGray

            I agree as I have been mildly shopping for a new car the last two years. Biggest problem is finding a manual transmission on the lot anywhere near me. I have so far only been able to find two models locally, Civic SI and VW GTI. I like the GTI but am afraid to buy and own one for long term and the Civic SI was in the wrong color for me but sold within three days of me test driving it. I really liked the SI sedan but can’t stand the idea of having a tire sealant kit instead of a spare tire. I have thought about a Genesis G70 , Elantra GT N Line, Forte GT, Challenger R/T, Corolla sedan, and maybe some more. The Challenger can be found but not the others too easily. I am not sure I would want to buy a Dodge any more than a VW. I do believe there would be more manuals sold if they were available but many people will just buy whatever is on the lot if it is within their payment budget.

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        Well, if you were going to be one of the 1% who bought a manual, then they missed out.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Boo on no Civic Si Coupe. Boo on that there was never a Fit Si. Hate to see no stick in the Accord, but at the end of the day I preferred the Acura TLX to it and it was an auto only affair so no great loss I guess.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Not surprised by any of this…Civics and Fits don’t fit into “Brawndo Has What Plants Need World”…I mean, the expanding market for CUVs.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I don’t care about Fit. What kind car is that? Civic coupe – don’t care either. Accord – I don’t care about Accord, only about MT. They can throw this Accord from 10th floor. Just leave the gear box.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      I eagerly await your commentary on all other topics you don’t care about.

    • 0 avatar
      MorrisGray

      I believe if Toyota offered a manual in the Camry with the 2.5L or the 3.0L naturally aspirated motors, they would gather a lot of manual buyers. I really thought that was going to come with the TRD edition Camry. I can’t even find a Corolla locally with a manual transmission. Not in the sedan or the hatchback. Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, Mazda ….. no manuals on the lot. I looked for a Mazda sedan with manual for two years and haven’t found one near me. Sure the dealer would get me one from somewhere but I didn’t want to be on the hook without driving one first. Same with the other cars of my interest. So I am still driving the 2006 Mazda 3 that I bought new with a manual…. Still enjoy it , just wanted something new. And I don’t like the Mazda3 hatch for $30k….

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    I owned a 2015 FIT for four years and 65000 miles. The platform was very good but the engine was garbage. Have had a 2017 Civic EX-T for 3 years and 22000 miles. Much more power/ torque than the non turbo 1.5 in the Fit and still gets better mpg. Unfortunately its still a direct injection only engine so I fear its only a matter of time before valve train deposits rear their ugly head. The Civic is part of the turbo recall due to possible gas/oil contamination. Also worrisome. My son purchased a new Ridgeline in December. By February it had developed an engine knock that is so far not diagnosed by the dealer. I will never buy another vehicle with direct injection only, from Honda or anyone else.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Perhaps the real culprit here isn’t the popularity of CUVs and demise of sedans and manuals, but the sense of economic doom the mfrs are telegraphing in these tough times.

    2020 sales are falling off a cliff, and the diminishing ability for consumers to buy *anything* means the mfrs are reducing their portfolios to only the sure bets.

    Ironically, this means building more upscale vehicles for those who still have jobs, not affordable city cars for the plebes who don’t. The mfrs simply won’t cater to people they can’t sell to, so I’d expect to see the economic divide widen in the US.

    Cries of “why don’t they build affordable stripped cars?” will go unanswered, because a) nobody really wants them, and b) they don’t help the mfrs’ bottom line.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah I think this current situation is making the divide worse. I agree it’s affecting what car makers offer and has for a while now. You can also see it forcing up used car prices. Lot’s of people who used to buy base model cars are now used buyers. Some of this is economics which is a big problem for the future but some is people getting what they want in a car. I was talking to some one the other day who really should be driving cheap used or stripped base new cars they were looking at buying a two year old loaded CUV, their credit wouldn’t let them buy new and the payments would have allowed someone with better credit buy a brand new one for less. But it’s what they want, despite having a reliable but older car that’s almost payed off.

      Leasing also has an effect. Never been a fan but man when an automaker pushes a deal sometimes it’s hard to ignore. I was doing some price shopping the other day and the money thrown at the lease deals makes them awfully tempting Lets see I can buy the mid trim or lease the top trim for the same payment what should I do?

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        A lease is also a good way for someone with little or no, or a rocky, credit history to at least start out (afresh) someplace. If you like the car enough, you can always buy it at lease end.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Speaking as someone who had to rebuild his credit, if that’s your goal, as long as you have something that will get you around for a year or so, I’d advise buying anything *but* a car.

          There are plenty of ways to do that. Here’s one: find your local “we finance anyone” appliance store (Conn’s, for example), and go buy something that costs $500 or so, for starters. Make sure the account reports to the bureaus. I’d also definitely take out secured credit cards.

          In the end, all your credit report will show is an installment account and a credit card that’s paid on time, and a few of those accounts will work wonders on your score.

          Will you get ripped off with the appliance or secured credit card buys? Like you wouldn’t believe. But what’s cheaper – 23% interest on a $500 TV, or a $25,000 car?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The credit bureaus put more weight credit card usage. I’ve never had a car loan or mortgage and have had a perfect 850 FICO just from credit cards. It really helps to have multiple, keep asking them to raise your limits, lower your interest rates and stay far from maxing the cards.

            At one point Discover owed me money. I bought a few pallets of cinder block, paid them off, and when I finished the job, I got a card refund on the left overs.

            Discover kept reminding me of the negative dept, then finally cut me a check after chasing me for about a year. Some cards will cancel you from non usage though.

            At another point, American Express sent me a pre-approved “Black Card” but I shredded/declined. It was brand new, I’d never heard of it and I’d get “pre-approved” credit card offers all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Seems the whole concept of “entry level buyer” is gone. If all you sell is high end SUVs then how do you attach new young buyers? Or do they just Uber everywhere? My first four cars were Hondas – all thru high school, college, getting married and getting my first apartment.

      I understand the death of manuals, its sad but I get it. However the lack of coupes is worrisome. Why so much hate on 2 doors? 80% of the cars I see on the road have one person driving, the rest of the vehicle is empty aside from Starbucks cups. When I was teen / young adult (80s thru 90s) having four doors was seriously uncool.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Biro

        When I was teen / young adult (80s thru 90s) having four doors was seriously uncool.”

        It still is.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        A case can be made, that unless you work in livery, any doors beyond the first two, should only be included if they are sliding ones….

        Even on a car as ridiculously gargantuan as an S class, the B pillar hampers the wide open sideview you get in the two door CL version. For Civic-, and 3 (now 4) series Bimmer-, -sized cars, it’s night and day. Particularly the 4 series vs the 3 series. The 4 is darned nice, the 3 a penalty box. All on account of more adult sized doors/windows.

        It’s also much nicer to ingress/egress when you have bigger doors. Everywhere EXCEPT in cramped parking lots. And in those, any swing out door sucks compared to a sliding minivan one.

        So, in short: Either vans, or coupes, is where it’s at.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    >>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.<<

    I thought the 1.5 Sport also offered the manny tranny. Yes, it does.

    Ins cos should give a discount for the manny, since it's a theft deterrent

    You knew this was coming, since the manual model cost the same as the auto in the last couple of years, something Acura did before they dropped the manny

  • avatar
    AutoPatriot

    This is the most devastating Automotive news I’ve heard all year. I was in the market for a white 2020 si coupe.
    I test drove one in January, besides no vtec and turbo, digital gauges and electronic E brake, and awful uni-taillaight(Honda calls spoiler.) The updated wheels and trim pieces got my tastes up enough to really want over the 16-19 year models, I like it enough to buy. Should have bought the one I drove, my local Honda dealership has only had two so coupes in this year, one white coupe and a red coupe both sold within days.
    Thanks to covid (or was it really?) production became limited and from March till this very day I can’t get my hands on a white coupe within 500 miles.
    That was a bad call Honda. Thanks for squashing what little power of dreams you had.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I just bought a new Civic sedan last week. I had initially considered the Fit, but to get one with the features I wanted, The Civic was not much more. Not a fan of the hatch’s styling, but they did improve the looks of the Sedan in 2019. That helped too.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Did anyone ever drive a Fit equipped with the Honda Factory Performance Package (HFPP). It was a dealer installed deal that was a better suspension, wheels, some body bolt-ons and a shift knob I think. No power added, but I read in a couple of reviews that it basically drove like a 90’s Civic which was pretty high praise in my book.

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    I love watching the fanboys seethe at the loss of yet another manual transmission. Fare thee well, Accord stickshift, ye shan’t be missed.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Are you speaking from experience or trolling fanboys? I haven’t driven the Accord with the manual, but have heard mixed things.

      • 0 avatar
        grant.jewett

        I have a 2019 manual accord and I like it. Admittedly, I don’t have a huge list of manual transmission experience (Nissan Frontier, Toyota Corolla, and this), but I think it’s fine and makes the 2.0t a blast to drive. I’m sad to see the manual gone.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    No surprise, really, but a real shame. The Fit was noisy and has damn uncomfortable headrests, but it’s smart and doesn’t have a “the poors” vibe to it. The magic seats are awesome.

    One still holds out hope for the Canadian market…

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Still driving my aging ‘03 CRV that I ordered with a stick. Now all you can get is a lousy CVT – not happening. Honda puts a real 10-speed in the Accord 2.0 and it would be nice to have hat as an option in the Civic instead of the CVT. The only Honda I would buy today would be a Pilot, which I’m considering, or a Hybrid. New CRV hybrid is way overpriced because Honda thinks they can get it. So I guess I won’t be buying a Honda, simple as that.

  • avatar
    deanst

    So I guess Hyundai is the manual king now? That’s just sad.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      Yup. And that Civic Coupe Sport with manual transmission that I was thinking about buying next year might now be a Veloster. What’s more, the Veloster offers a 150hp 2-liter to compete against the Civic Sport… or a 200hp turbo powerplant to compete with the Si. Both offer manuals – with six speeds, not five.

  • avatar
    grant.jewett

    I just purchased a 2019 Accord Sport 2.0T with a manual and love it. I’m sad to see another manual transmission gone.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Not surprised either. If the take rate was 1% on the Accord manual I would be surprised honestly. And that’s on a vehicle which is struggling in and of itself. Performance coupes have been dead for sometimes as people are pointing out. Car buyers want either a hatchback or a sedan. Honda didn’t even continue the coupe for the current generation Accord.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Before I purchased my Challenger GT awd I considered a Civic coupe which was the closest thing to a new Prelude. I once owned a Prelude and still have a soft spot for them.
    Maybe they’ll add the Si package to the 5 door hatch which is currently offered in Sport trim. It would appeal to folks who simply can’t go for a full bore Type-R.
    I know someone who owned a first generation Fit. She found it to be very versatile for everything from moving stuff to pet transporting.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Booooooooooooooo hiiiiiiiiisssssssssss…

    The Accord has had a manual of some kind from 1976 until now.

    Nearly as bad as there being no such thing as a manual transmission in 1/2 ton pickup trucks.

  • avatar

    Good riddance to the Fit. It was a miserable little penalty box.

    I had a ’15 model and owned it for only 5k miles before replacing it with a Sonic.

    The Fit made a good showroom impression with the slick magic seats, great visibility, fair pricing, the availability of a manual transmission, and good ergonomics.

    But what a miserable car to put up with every day. Slow acceleration, terrible gearing, cramped legroom in the front seats, rough ride, raspy engine note and relentless road noise, and dreadful quality made it the worst ownership experience. In the short time I had it, it went to the dealer over 10 times for miscellaneous issues, from loose trim to a defective alternator.

    Aside from a big back seat and excellent fuel economy, there was little reason to recommend one. The saddest part is seeing another manual transmission disappear into automotive history

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      There should be a TTAC article on the subject of first impressions vs ownership impressions.

      I’ve had a few bad surprises in ownership that I was embarrassed to have missed during the test drive. Maybe it was the blinding euphoria of the first date that caused it.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    They are doing it wrong. The manual should be in the TLX and cost more than the auto. The people that actually want a stick will pay for it if offered. It’s not 1988 anymore. Automatics are everywhere. It is the manual that people would pay for.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    I know someone who’s driving a 2013 Fit. I asked her what she wants next and she said “another Fit”. Heh! Not going to work unless she hurries up!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Since most new vehicles are overpriced and come with black only interiors, CVTs, limited exterior colors mostly black, white, and silver, and force you into a more expensive trim level to get the one thing you would pay for as an option then I might not ever get another new vehicle again. If I am going to have to compromise and get a vehicle for the most part that doesn’t come the way I want it then I might as well save my money and buy used. I don’t really want to be forced to buy direct injection,turbo charge,cvts, and a water pump enclosed with a timing belt or timing chain. After a while if you compromise everything you want in a vehicle then it becomes less desirable to buy one. I understand that manufacturers need to cut costs and that dealers only want to stock what they know will sell but I am the buyer and if I am going to pay 30k and more for a new vehicle then I want to get most of the things that I want otherwise why waste my money on something I don’t like or want. Just my opinion but after all I have a right to choose what I spend my money on.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryan

      Jeff,

      You hit the nail on it’s head. I read your post and shook my head, concurring completely. All three pieces of news in this article are saddening. For the consumer, us. Three less manual options for the United States. We lose, as enthusiasts and entry level buyers alike.

  • avatar
    AVT

    I think for a lot of people who do want manuals at an affordable level, they would be more likely to buy a motorcycle. given how expensive vehicles are now and how cheap new sport bikes (while still being fairly reliable) it seems like the logical step. The truth is most people only have themselves in the vehicle they drive 90% of the time anyways so do you really need the 3 extra usable seats in the car. I own a goldwing and honestly, it really is an affordable accord with a manual.

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