• Jul 31, 2009
2010 Honda Insight EX - Click above for high-res image gallery

Honda's Insight hybrid is failing to live up to sales expectations here in the important U.S. market. While Honda claims the Insight was never meant to be a direct competitor to the Toyota Prius, the truth is that the two cars are very much rivals in the eyes of many new car shoppers (and some Honda dealers). With that in mind, the 2,079 Insights that Honda managed to sell in June pales in comparison to the 12,998 Prius hybrids Toyota sold in the same month. Further, Honda is on track to sell less than one-third of its stated goal of 90,000 units in its first year on the market.

According to The Los Angeles Times, some dealerships are hoping Honda can rebound with a revised marketing campaign highlighting the Insight's price advantage over the Prius, which currently sits at a few thousand dollars at the base end. There are surely any number of reasons why the Insight may be losing ground in the hybrid race, and you can probably pick out some of them by clicking here to read our review of the 2010 Honda Insight and then clicking here for our take on the 2010 Toyota Prius.



[Source: Los Angeles Times]


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  • 46 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am sure that the advertising campaign that Toyota is doing is helping out alot also.

      I haven't seen any Insight ads or tv commercials ?!?!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I prefer the Prius to the Insight (if I had to choose one over the other) but is NOT becasue of those horrible, annoying, green-washing commercials with the "human plants" and irritating music.

        I hate those commercials with a PASSION. The Prius is pretty nice despite the horrid marketing. I think the marketing campaign does more to perpetrate the pious greener than thou image rather than highlight the car on its merits (which are many).

        Again - (flamers) I do like the Prius - just not the lame advertising.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fusion is 10K more but is much-much bigger, Fusion is actually nearly 16 inches bigger than Pirus.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do the math....cheapest Insight in the Great White North is $23,900....mid-level Fit LX with automatic is $18,580.......equipped similarily, after taxes, there's over a $6000 price difference. At a buck a litre, figuring on driving 20,000 kms/yr, even if the Insight were to get a combined 4.34l/100k (65 miles/imperial gallon) and the Fit were to achive a combined 6.27l/100km (45 miles per imperial gallon), it would take over 15 yrs to make up the price difference in gas savings. Insight's battery pack, I'm sure, wouldn't last 15 yrs. and in the Fit, you get a better looking, roomier, more fun to drive vehicle. Sorry Honda, your unsightly Insight just doesn't cut it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This may be true but again, have you driven both? Money is one thing but waking up every day and driving a car you enjoy driving and driving something that just doesn't compare is another. Those are the people who trade the car after 2-3 years because they really just don't like the car. That $4,000 difference is your depreciation after those 2-3 years sir. Not to mention the resale of an Insight against that of a Prius.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Have you seen and drove both of these vehicles? No comparison, the Prius has it all over the Honda. Don't get me wrong, the Insight is a decent hybrid but this generation Prius is light years ahead in refinement.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Leclerc has it. every non enthusiest hippie i know who went out intent on saving money and buying a insight over the prius went running to the prius, the insight, in their opinions, was that bad. The sales reflect this sort of reaction. Time for honda to realize, with all the competition the korean car makers are giving them below, and the established nature of toyota, that you can't nickle and dime consumers in the R&D phase and provide unpolsihed products, even below $20,000.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Ligor

        Toyota had actually mimicked the FIRST generation Insight's body structure onto their 2nd generation Prius in 2004. So Honda was actually the one to come up with the efficient aerodynamic structure first.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A hybrid is still an aspirational purchase, and I think most people are either going to buy the real thing or wait until they can.

        People who can't afford a Prius aren't looking to pay a premium for a hybrid at all.
        • 5 Years Ago
        add to that that the Insight is like a 8/10 size and mimics it's looks and what you have is somthing like a Prius wannabe with less space and not as good mpg.

        had they come up with some original styling (and by that I also mean having good looks) they might have done beter inspite of the mgp drop.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed... but there's still no love affair with either vehicle. I'm ambivalent towards the "cheese wedge on pepperoni wheels" look. Here's hoping the CR-Z ups the ante... but based on sales of the Insight... magic 8ball says "unlikely."
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't even LIKE Honda (or Toyota), but agree whole-heartedly wih Leclerc - the Insight has nothing on the Prius.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I guess thats the advantage of being the first coompany to mass produce the hybrid. plenty of time has come and gone, generations of prius and now I can honestly say that thing looks better than that new Lexus HS25hhhh2hh
      • 5 Years Ago
      My finance recently got a Prius, after turning in her 2006 Accord. We looked at the Insight, but it the interior seemed cheap. The controls seemed cheap. The gages looked cheap, and not well thought out. The Insight didn't compare in terms of options either. There wasn't as much room either.

      Honestly, the Insight just seems like a bad attempt to clone the Prius on the cheap. Its not in the same class. Honda has a lot of work to do, across their entire lineup. They are way behind the times.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Stop building hybrid tampons and maybe people will come.

      I know having aerodynamics is important, but I think we need to remember that people still want a good looking car. People will sacrifice a little economy for something that is aesthetically pleasing.

      • 5 Years Ago
      It's easy to see why this is faltering with the new Prius out. The Prius is everyone's favorite and is superior technologically to any other hybrid out there. Even if the Insight wasn't a hybrid, it would still suffer because of its hideous design insight out, this and the Jeep Compass are two of the ugliest cars on sale in North America.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I will probably get low ranked for this, but whatever.

      Honda, what has happened to you? I understand and can appreciate that you are still independent, and profitable, but can you also be innovative? Are the two camps mutually exclusive?

      I miss the Honda that set the world on it's ear. The original Accord, the Civic, CRX, s2000, NSX and Legend were all introduced to a collective gasp from the world as they were amazed by the technology and innocation these models offered.

      Recently, one could make the claim that the Fit has achieved a similar sentiment, but my overall impression is that Honda has lost it's flair for truly introducing new technology. It's resting on it's laurels.

      And here we are, with Honda's green halo car being rightfully beaten by a Toyota Prius that is better in pretty much every way, including "greeness."
        • 5 Years Ago
        After the current Civic came out, I think it's fair to say that they hit a "rough patch."
        • 5 Years Ago
        They d focused on expanding their production lines (increased US production) and lost focus on their products.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hyundai picked up the crown that Honda lost. All that you loved about Honda, look to Hyundai now. They ARE the new Honda.

        Honda is... well, I don't know. Sort of like Buick?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know why you would be low ranked. Your comments are on target. I fondly remember the '88 Civics with double wishbones at all corners, at a time when most eceonomy cars had struts and beam axles. I think this is where Honda's size may hurt them compared to Toyota, not enough units to spread costs around. I do have high hopes for the CR-Z however.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I miss the Honda that set the world on it's ear. The original Accord, the Civic, CRX, s2000, NSX and Legend were all introduced to a collective gasp from the world as they were amazed by the technology and innocation these models offered.:"

        I can honestly say in my forty years on Earth I've never heard "a collective gasp" or seen the "world on its ear" over a McHonda. Not once.

        Funniest thing I've read in weeks. Thanks for the laughs...
        • 5 Years Ago
        "we're talking about Honda, not Toyota."

        Both companies over expanded here, but Honda has higher proportion of exports to imports than Toyota.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "They d focused on expanding their production lines (increased US production) and lost focus on their products."

        we're talking about Honda, not Toyota.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think that a huge portion of this could come down to marketing. Honda does not have nearly the same fuzzy, feel good marketing campaign for the Insight that Toyota has going for the Prius. the Toyota may be higher priced, but you are actually making the earth better by driving it.... just ask any soccer mom. Those ads were/are a huge success and should not be left out of the equation.
      • 5 Years Ago
      JDM Life is more like Toyota Life.
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1 lol... that's so true..
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the main competition the Insight faces is from the Fit. For example, I had a friend check out the Insight and she bought the Fit instead. The difference in price (4K) more than made up for the additional MPG for her. It's not that she did not like the Insight, the Fit was simply the better deal.
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