Honda’s second generation Insight was developed to take on Toyota’s Prius head-to-head. The company had previously counted on its Civic Hybrid to compete with the Prius, but even Honda admitted that the Civic’s plebian design wasn’t “extreme enough” to capture the attention of buyers; hence the Insight.
However, even with a more blob-like design akin to the Prius, Honda’s efforts with the second generation Insight still weren’t enough to tackle the hybrid sales king. It also didn’t help that the Insight was only marginally cheaper, quite a bit smaller, and got worse fuel economy than the Prius. And once the cheaper Prius c was released to the market, it was pretty much game over.
Honda has seen the writing on the wall, and according to a new report from Bloomberg, the company will end production of the Insight this month. Yuka Abe, a spokesman for the company, declined to comment on if another “low cost” hybrid will fill its place in the lineup at a later date.
Honda has only sold roughly 280,000 Insights globally since the first generation model launched in 1999. In comparison, Toyota has sold nearly 3.2 million Prii since its [Japanese] introduction in 1997.
Even more telling are the U.S. sales figures. In 2013 alone, Toyota managed to sell 234,228 Prii (Prius, Prius c, Prius v) — nearly enough to cover the entire production run of the Insight. Honda sold just 4,802 Insights and 4,550 CR-Z hybrids for all of 2013 in the U.S. market.
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