Honda's boxy Element SUV may not have broken sales records but it definitely has its own niche that's full of loyal supporters. Because of its limited success, Honda is considering a replacement for the compact SUV with a similar vehicle. However, it is still unsure if the Element name will be used. In 2003, the first year for the model, Honda sold 67,478 Elements.
Despite getting a facelift and a stylish S/C model, Element sales did not meet the 75,000-unit estimate. In 2009, only 13,458 Elements were sold.
This is in sharp contrast with the performance of the CR-V (which shares most mechanicals with the Element) that had 172,528 units sold.
Nevertheless, Honda doesn't think that the CR-V's achievements belittle that of the Element. In an interview with Automotive News, American Honda vice president John Mendel said that those who are intent on buying the Element can't be convinced to consider a CR-V.
Mendel said that Element buyers are typically significantly different from CR-V owners. The Element is often linked to the 'active lifestyle'and as such, it boasts to have a flexible interior, washable rubber floors, optional surfboard and kayak carriers, and a new Dog Friendly package.
Meanwhile, the CR-V is perceived to be more luxurious, and is positioned towards catering to young families.
In any case, Honda isn't likely to abandon these Element loyalists, so chances are, we would see a follow-up to the first-generation model with a new vehicle. It will most probably be on CR-V underpinnings but will possess similar features and design traits as the current Element.