2010 dog-friendly Honda Element - click above for high-res image gallery

In spite of being functionally outstanding, Honda's odd looking Element crossover has never lived up to sales expectations. The funky box never approached the initial sales target of 75,000 units a year, and this year it's on track for barely more than 15,000 sales. Despite its relative commercial failure, Honda has reportedly given the green light to a second generation model. Despite a couple of modest freshenings, the Element is already seven years into its life cycle – considerably longer than typical for a Japanese branded model.

Given the slow sales, why would Honda bother with a new iteration? Honda's executive vice-president, John Mendel, has informed Automotive News that virtually all Element sales are incremental. The Element shares its platform with the much higher volume CR-V, but apparently almost no buyers cross-shop the two vehicles – Element buyers have no interest in the CR-V and vice-versa. If Honda does proceed with a new model, perhaps unique features like the recently introduced dog friendly package will be the key to increased differentiation and success.


Related GalleryNew York 2009: Dog Friendly Honda Element Concept

[Source: Automotive News - sub req'd]