Report: Honda Insight Sales Struggling Because it’s Too Small, Says Exec

Report: Honda Insight Sales Struggling Because it’s Too Small, Says Exec

Honda is expecting that its new Insight hybrid won’t meet its sales target because it’s to small. That, at least, is the opinion of Honda Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo, who told Bloomberg, “I think we compromised too much on size in pursuing fuel efficiency.”

Honda had expected to sell as many as 200,000 units during the Insights first year on the market, but managed only 130,445 in 2009, with sales beginning in the automaker’s home market of Japan in February. Honda had expected the car to be a particular success in the U.S., where it had planned to sell 90,000 (almost half) of its Insights worldwide. Instead, Honda managed to move just 20,572 units.

Kondo also admitted that considering the how well the Fit has done in the marketplace and the prohibitive cost of making a hybrid version of the car, it might not look at building a hybrid Fit after all. “Our engineers are really struggling,” he said.

Interestingly, Kondo didn’t touch on the fact that it might not be the Insight’s size, but rather its fuel economy numbers (well, below those of Toyota’s Prius), that might be a contributing factor in the car’s unpopularity.

[Source: Bloomberg]

  • WC Snyder

    Comments to HONDA It MPG! and cheap materials! 20% less MPG compared to the Puris. I have the 1st Gen Insight and it gets 70+ mpg with 10 yr old technology! You concentrated on a low “price point” vs matching Toyota’s bench marks. Reviews complain about poor handling, materials and the poor MPG. Very unHonda like to miss the mark. Same can be said with the CRZ, terrible MPG figures 32/38 as a Hybrid!, not breaking 40mpg and it S L O W!! Go back to the drawing board and either have it get better MPG or make it “sporty” with a larger engine. As it sits now, will not meet either market of folks who would consider the car. (High MPG or hi performance) and a two seat car, you have to offer great MPG or great performance/handling, and it stands now, Honda CRZ is not offering either! Don’t say we will update it”later” because Honda has lost a core group of customers by eliminating the CRX, S2000 RSX etc. I have waited two years for the CRZ thinking I would get GREAT MPG and “sporty performance” in one package, but no, it will be a BUST in its current form. Honda, I know you do not care about my opinion, but as past owner of 12 Hondas starting with a S800, you need to go back to the drawing board with the current Insight and the CRZ. ( review the negative comments on your Honda CRZ site and other CRZ forums.)

  • Diehard Honda Guy

    I have to agree somewhat with the above. Honda, you missed the mark on the Insight II. 1) It is overpriced by about $2,500. 2) It feels a little cheap and buzzy when driving. 3) The back seat low eiling height is a major issue.

    I expect way more from Honda. I’m not sure what is going on, but you need to figure it out. There is no reason in my mind Honda shouldn’t be able to compete head to head with Toyota in the hybrid market. You are in danger of losing my car purchasing dollars to another company.

  • carguy

    It’s so sad that the CR-Z appears to be the best that Honda can do. The car has very little in the way of innovative technology (despite Honda’s PR people trying to convince everyone otherwise) It uses the same outdated IMA system as other Honda hybrids, the 6 speed manual while admittedly one of the best in the industry can hardly be called new technology, the CVT has been used in Hondas and really is nothing noteworthy or new (now if it had a dual-clutch auto that would be something new for Honda). All Honda has created is rather poorly perfoming hybrid coupe that is too slow (0-60 in 9.4 seconds),not very frugal and too expensive ($25,500-28000 given the paltry performance specs. For anyone in the market for a sporty afordable car there are many cheaper and faster alternatives for sale now and if you are willing to wait a little longer in the future(ie. the Hyundai Veloster if it features what has been announced will outperform or equal the CR-Z in almost every category, including being substantially cheaper, and as a bonus will have a rear seat. It also supposedly will actually have some exciting performance technology that the CR-Z lacks (such as direct injection, dual clutch transmission, and a turbo charged version for even more power.

  • Moviemike

    I’ve had my I2 for a year now. I still love the car, and its IMA technology. I have been unable to discover much of a reality behind the negative press. For example I’ve been posting all my gasoline purchases at and my MPG for the year is currently at 50.2. Some people get higher mpg then I, but most are in the upper 40’s. Fuelly Pruis mpg postings are in the lower to mid 40’s ..for the most people. Rear seat head room is a problem for me at 6′ 3″ but not for other people. Handling is adequate, much better than the Pruis, almost as good as my old Saturn SL1.