2010 Honda Insight EX: Losing the Sales Race
October 19, 2009
It's a little soon to predict what the long-term sales outlook might be for the Honda Insight, although you have to say that there's less of them on the street than there ought to be. For September, just 1,746 Insights hit the street. In the same period, 10,964 examples of the Prius were sold. Amazing, no?
Maybe one reason is the Honda Insight is not so different from every other Honda. It's practical, hyper-efficient and affordable, which is pretty much what you can say about the Honda Fit, the Honda Civic, the Honda Accord and everything else with a Honda badge. In comparison, the Toyota Prius is the only Toyota with a smart, cool persona, so it has less competition on the Toyota showroom floor.
If you want a futuristic Toyota, there's just one car to buy. If you want a futuristic Honda, there's a big selection of them. Maybe it's no wonder that the Toyota Prius leads the Insight so dramatically in the sales race.
And maybe it's no wonder that Carlos Ghosn has set Nissan to the very expensive task of developing technology for the Nissan Leaf plug-in. When you have a range of fine but ordinary cars like Toyota does and the Prius hybrid is the only one with enough car-ness to make people care, then the lesson for every car-maker is clear. You can love the electric car or hate it, but it's the only sort of thing that registers with ordinary consumers. If you want your brand to be cool, then you must have an electric car.
It's a lesson so important than even Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have learned it.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 7,313 miles