Honda to stop Insight and CR-Z sales in Europe due to poor demand

Article by Anita Panait, on February 17, 2014

Because of the weakening demand, Honda will terminate sales of its Insight and CR-Z gasoline-electric hybrids in Europe. The carmaker is selling off its remaining European stocks of the Insight and CR-Z, a spokesperson told Automotive News Europe.  The cars are listed in France and the United Kingdom but are not in Germany, Spain and Italy, according to a check of Honda's Web sites in Europe's top markets.

The pullout means that the hybrid version of the Jazz will be the only Honda model to offer the alternative powertrain, but the Japanese carmaker has said that no decision has been made on whether it would sell in Europe the Jazz hybrid that will be rolled out in 2015.

Honda has sold around 125,000 hybrids in Europe, but recent sales have been performing badly. Honda logged a 62-percent drop in sale sales of the Insight to 1,242 Insights in 2013, a 66-percent plunge in sales of the CR-Z to just 695 units, according to figures from market researcher JATO Dynamics. According to Honda, it sold around 4,500 Jazz hybrids in Europe in 2013 from 7,500 in 2012.

"We've had seen a steady sales for our hybrids since we launched them, but recently we've seen a strong demand for low-emission diesel technology," the spokesman told Automotive News Europe. Honda added a new 1.6-liter engine for the Civic compact and CR-V SUV engineered for Europe.

The Civic diesel boasts of carbon dioxide emissions of 94 grams per km compared to 96g/km for the Insight hybrid. While Honda is struggling with its hybrid, Toyota gained a lot by increasing sales gasoline-electric variants of its Toyota- and Lexus-brand models from 107,000 in 2012 to 153,000 in 2013.

Honda intended the exterior design of the new Honda CR-Z to pay tribute to the Honda CR-X of the 1980s, as originally created as a small, stylish car with outstanding fuel economy. This can be seen on a number of details that made their way – as reinterpreted – from the CR-X to the CR-Z.

For instance, the split level rear glass hatch and low shallow raked roofline of the CR-X have been reinterpreted on the new CR-Z, but is now fused with a deeply sculpted exterior.

Interestingly, shallow raked roofline and the truncated tail of the Honda CR-Z are also found on past and present Honda vehicles like the 1999 Insight, the FCX Clarity and the aforementioned CR-X. All of these cars were designed for a purpose – to cut through air efficiency, thereby minimizing aerodynamic drag and lowering fuel consumption and emissions.

The new Honda CR-Z marks the first time that LED daytime running lights were employed in a Honda production car. In the CR-Z, these LED DRLs are positioned in the lower section of the front lights, thereby helping accentuate the wide stance of the new coupe.

On the other hand, the interior of the new Honda CR-Z took inspiration from the cabin of the Honda CR-Z Concept unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. This is evident on the driver focused interior as well as on the looks of the three-dimensional speedometer.

Since commonly used vehicle controls in the high-technology instrument binnacle are now closer to the driver to reach, he or she could fully focus on the road ahead. Meanwhile, the new CR-Z features a visually stunning dashboard with a dark upper portion seemingly floating above a light grey lower dash section.

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