Sales of the second-generation Honda Insight hybrid-electric vehicle surged as it benefited from the rising gas prices, boosted advertising and the spring-car-buying season. In the past two years, its sales were steady but low. Ward’s data reveal that in March 2011, its sales increased by 62.2%, compared to 2,782 units in March 2010.
This is actually the highest monthly jump for the latest Insight since March 2010, when deliveries climbed 179.2% compared with March 2009, which is when a new model was launched. Last month, the Insight’s sales were higher than the 52.0% increase for the Toyota Prius.
However, the Prius hybrid got the bulk of the sales, with 42,779 units sold in the first quarter of 2011 compared to 6,058 units for the Insight.
American Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel said that when prices of fuel increase, “people think of Honda.” He also pointed out its “pretty strong” advertising for the entire Honda lineup has raised traffic. He added that since it s a spring market, customers have started to come back. Honda discounted the original 2-seat Insight in 2006.
It can be recalled that in 2008, gas prices rose quickly and this likely urged consumers to prefer fuel-efficient vehicles. In May 2008, Honda sold over 50,000 Civic compact cars.
The initial goal back then had been to hit 90,000 Insight sales in the U.S. but this figure was adjusted downwards several times as the recession led to the huge drop in new car sales. In 2010, Insight sales amounted to 20,962 units, only 1.9% higher than the 20,572 sold in 2009, when the hybrid started to sell in its current form.