Although Honda has been working on clean cars tech for fifty years, as Nicolas Zart pointed out yesterday. As an automaker, Honda is at the forefront of clean manufacturing and cradle-to-grave engineering for the environment. This, however, has not meant that sales of its greenest vehicles are robust.
In Europe, Honda was the first automaker to mass-produce a hybrid for sale, introducing the Insight in 1999, beating Toyota by a year. Yet that Insight, which has since gone through some changes, is still not selling well. Neither is the other hybrid Honda offers, the CR-Z sport coupe (find out more about the CR-Z here).
Because of those lackluster sales, Honda is clearing out its inventory in European dealerships and won’t be sending more.
Yep, Honda isn’t going to sell its hybrids in Europe anymore. At least, not for now. Instead, they are focusing on diesel offerings, which have been doing far better on the old continent.
Since introducing that first Insight in 1999, Honda has sold about 125,000 hybrids in Europe. Recent sales, however, have dwindled to nearly nothing, with only 1,242 Insights being sold last year (a year-on-year drop of 62 percent) while the CR-Z hybrid sold just 695 copies last year. The Jazz hybrid, which Honda still offers, also dropped about 3,000 units year-on-year.
Low-emission diesel technology is still the propulsion system of choice in Europe, outpacing all others in growth and demand. A new 1.6-liter diesel offering in the Civic and CR-V is seeing consumer interest, offering lower CO2 emissions in that Civic than does the hybrid system in the Insight.
Here in the U.S., Honda’s hybrid offerings aren’t faring much better. Honda’s released sales figures show slumps here as well. This points to the possibility of a similar fate for Honda hybrids in the U.S.