• Feb 1, 2010
2010 Honda Insight – Click above for high-res image gallery

Honda Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo doesn't seem to think that the automaker will hit its worldwide sales goal of 200,000 Insight hybrids in its first year on the market. Why? In an interview with Bloomberg, Kondo is quoted as saying "I think we compromised too much on size in pursuing fuel efficiency" for the U.S. market, he said.

In total, Honda sold 130,445 units of its Insight worldwide in 2009. The car was first introduced in Japan in February and then in the U.S. in March. In the States, the car's second-largest market, Honda sold just 20,572 units in 2009 – a far cry from the 90,000 it hoped to sell here in the first year.

Further, in reference to the long-expected Honda Fit Hybrid, Kondo said:
There are plenty of people who think that the current Fit meets their needs already [when it comes to fuel efficiency]... a hybrid version might seem expensive. Our engineers are really struggling.
It remains to be seen whether the upcoming CR-Z can bolster Honda's sketchy hybrid positioning.



[Source: Bloomberg]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 56 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I call BS. Big-time.

      Insight too small?

      Insight: 172.3" overall
      Prius: 175.6" overall

      It is 300lbs less than the Prius. But it's barely any smaller. And even at that, if they went for fuel economy over size, they sure did a terrible job:

      Insight: 40/43mpg
      Prius: 51/48mpg

      It is $3k cheaper than the Toyota, but beyond that...there's zero advantage to the new Insight over the Prius.

      Honda Hybrids = FAIL
        • 4 Years Ago
        The insight actually has a lot less interior room, that's the complaint.
        Basically it fails in every category except for price.

        The Civic outsold all other economy cars for decades because it was better than other economy cars. It was often times more expensive / under-featured than most economy cars in it's day, but it had the best handling, power, and most importantly, mpg.

        Now the tables are totally turned. Hondas are sort of like the discounted PT cruiser of today's times.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Other metrics for the Prius and the Insight are:

        Values are for Prius and Insight respectively
        Front legroom: 42.5" versus 42.3"
        Rear legroom: 36.0" verus 33.5"
        Front headroom: 38.6" , Insight - 38.4"
        Rear headroom: 37.6" versus 35.9"
        Front hiproom: 52.7" versus 51.6"
        Rear hiproom: 51.2" versus 48.7"
        Front shoulder room: 54.9" versus 52.7"
        Rear shoulder room: 53.1" versus 50.4"
        Passenger: 94 cu. ft versus 85 cu. ft.
        Luggage: 15.7 cu. ft. (15.7 max) versus 15.9 cu. ft. (31.5 max)

        I guess for some people, those few inches inside can make or break it for the Insight. I'm a large guy and barely fit in the last gen Prius and would be a tougher fit in an Insight.

        Overall, I do agree that Honda needs to move on from a mild hybrid setup to a full hybrid setup if they really want the Insight to be directly with the Prius. From a cost perspective, it will be more expensive but the cost of the Prius hasn't deterred a lot of people from buying it (sure, the hybrid tax credit helps out as well when it was still available). The other thing is if Honda were to go full hybrid, they would need to go with an Atkinson cycle or equivalent engine. I don't even know if Honda has such an engine design or if they one in the works.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The problem with the Insight's size isn't its length but its capacity, offering just 85 cu. ft. in passenger volume compared to 94 cu. ft. in the current Prius. Most of that difference in passenger volume is felt in the backseat, which may have plenty of room for the average Japanese family, but Americans tend to be taller and...wider. It's like they expanded the original 2-passenger Insight by giving it an auxiliary backseat, suitable for use only by children and small adults. Americans also tend to like to carry around a lot of stuff, so the cargo volume difference--16 vs. 22 cu. ft.--is another important difference.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Civic isn't a best seller because of power, handling or mileage. By those metrics it's rarely been best in class, often hasn't even been in the running.

        It's a best seller because of the Honda's repuation for reliability and the resale value and low cost of ownership that go with it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The problem with the Insight is not that it's too small. The problem is that, as Clarkson says, it's "biblically terrible".
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly. Pointing to it being "too small" completely ignores the fact that it's poor in almost every way.

        Ultimately, even if it was poor as it is, great mileage would overcome that. But Honda's IMA hybrid system simply doesn't deliver. It's a terrible technology that is costing them the opportunity to own the hybrid market.

        Suggesting that it's "too small" is simply total bullsh*t.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm so disappointed with Honda's designs. They make such great cars, but oft times in illogical (and sometimes) packages. The the Insight, the CR-Z, not building the Civic hatchback for the U.S. Honda, fix it, please.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am flabbergasted how completely out of touch Honda has become with the North American market.

      They are making mediocrity by committee. There is no focus of what the design should do. Pure offal.

      The Insight is in almost every way a cheap Prius knockoff. Uglier, slower, noisier, less refined, less roomy, lower mpg. If all they are taking away is that it is too small, the failures will continue.

      The CR-Z is an epic failure waiting in the wings. Everyone has to pay the price of hybrid drivetrain that provides precious little benefit but saddles you with 300lbs of extra weight, and $3000 of extra cost. This car could have been so much better without hybrid disease. Cheaper/lighter and less expensive.

      Some car enthusiast in Honda management should have said NO! and insisted that they build a hybrid free CR-Z. That it was not done highlights a lack of car enthusiasts in upper management at Honda.

      Honda has lost it's way and turned into an appliance company and really Toyota makes better appliance. Honda needs more car enthusiasts making cars again.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So, you're in the Honda dealership and you're looking at the Fit.

      The salesperson says to you, "You can pay an extra $1,200 for a mildish hybrid system or $250 for a sixth cog." What say?

      Why doesn't honda make an XFE Fit? It'd have low rolling resistance tires, an aero kit, a sixth cog, electrionic power steering and a smart oil pump/alternator/regenerative braking/exhaust gas heat capture/motor stop start/engine coolant flask.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Size isn't the problem. Mini Cooper's sell like crazy here in Canada and they are a small car, but they are fun! If you're gonna make it tiny, make it interesting.
      • 4 Years Ago
      MPG is where they comprised. You can't go head to head with 10 less MPG. That's not going cut it. If with all Insight's "issues", it got 50 mpg, they would have sold more. period!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Actually the real problem is the gross lack of engineering on your part, Honda.

      Horrible loud, buzzy, underpowered powertrain that pales in mpg to Toyota and Ford's hybrids.

      Either they're talking out their ass, or they're really that out of touch with reality.
        • 4 Years Ago
        naggs, I don't believe GM's figures for a minute on the Cruze. Wait and see. GM "me-too's" a lot, without changing a thing. I've seen them do it before, and I expect it again.

        • 4 Years Ago
        honda is so far behind that larger non-hybrid models beat them on fuel economy

        2011 focus/cruze 40 mpg
        2011 CRZ hybrid 37 mpg

        F
        A
        I
        L
      • 4 Years Ago
      Honda has wasted its time with hybrids. Apparently it is incapable of delivering a competitive ima system.
      Honda should just cut its loses and devote its resources to improving their exiting engines and transmissions and lightening their cars--that would be much wiser strategy.
      It's so sad that Honda can't seem to understand that their decisions so far have been totally wrong canceling the nsx and s2000 successors and moving to lousy non-competitive hybrids. They also have no clue as to why their new insight is a failure---its not because its too small its because the Prius outperforms the Insight in every way and every review I've read give it poor ratings (apparently the consumers don't care that the Insight is marginally cheaper).

      The followup hybrid the CR-Z is another prime example of Honda's poor product planning and engineering. A hybrid that has little going for it -- poor mpg, slow, impractical and it will not be cheap. Maybe CR-Z should stand for Crappy Runabout that merits a zero on a scale of 1-10.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just goes to show how clueless Honda is. The problem with the Insight is it comes off as an inferior copy of the Prius with its derivative styling and lackluster MPG, has nothing to do with size.

      I hope they run with the "size" idea and turn the Crosstour into a hybrid, that'd be a fail of epic proportions.

      And it blows my mind why they think a Fit Hybrid is a bad idea, whereas an underpowered, cramped, torsion-beamed CR-Z with decidedly disappointing MPG figures in spite of being a hybrid is desirable to anyone.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, a Fit Hybrid would probably have too slim a profit margin, be a little too expensive, and judging from Honda's inferior IMA system, get less than impressive mileage.

        Especially since the Fit is less aerodynamic than the Insight, and with IMA and the additional batteries, wouldn't be any lighter than the Insight, either:

        Fit Sport Automatic: 2,604lbs
        Insight: 2,723lbs

        If the CR-Z, as compact and aerodynamic as it is, can only manage mileage in the 30s, I don't think there's any way they'll get decent numbers out of the Fit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      CR-Z? Save their hybrid hopes? A vehicle that is as cramped as the old CR-X, but is uglier, heavier, supposedly less fun to drive, and gets worse mileage?
        • 4 Years Ago
        you left out, "way more expensive".
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well that's what you get when you kill your fun cars and instead make ugly stupid boring cars that aren't even really that efficient. GG Honda.
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