Honda to discontinue boxy Element after 2011 model year

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 6, 2010

As U.S. sales of Honda’s Element have been declining for seven consecutive years, American Honda Motor has decided to end its run. The Element is a quirky, boxy crossover that was meant to appeal to the younger market. In a statement, Honda said that this vehicle will be dropped after the 2011 model year.

Right before the decision to scrap the model was made, it had an extended model cycle, at which time, Honda’s product planners talked about its replacement. It was in late 2002 that the Element, which is based on the CR-V crossover, started selling.

It featured washable floors and neoprene seats meant to appeal to buyers with active, outdoor lifestyles. It wasn’t long before the Element became popular with active, empty-nest Baby Boomers and retirees.

In 2003, its annual U.S. sales peaked at 67,478, its first full year on the market. Then it stayed in the mid-50,000 range until 2006. In 2009, sales fell to 14,884, and the volume from January to November of this year is down 4% while the U.S. market is up 11%.

For the 2010 model year, Honda released a “dog friendly” version, with grippy, bone-patterned floor mats and a cargo area set up for a dog carrier. In a statement, John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president, said that the Element “made boxy vehicle designs cool.” He added that Element owners like the vehicle for its “unique styling and unmatched versatility."

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