• Aug 21st 2010 at 1:24PM
  • 31
Honda Insight and Civic hybrid

It's no secret the revived 2010 Honda Insight has been a huge sales disappointment in North America. The once-robust sales of the Civic hybrid have also evaporated in the last two years. Apparently, things are far worse for Honda's hybrids north of the border, where higher fuel prices typically cause people to buy more efficient vehicles, than they are in the U.S.

An unconfirmed report from a Canadian web site indicates that both the Civic hybrid and the Insight are being discontinued there. Checking the Canadian sales charts, the Civic as a whole is one of the top-selling cars with 31,604 units sold in 2010 through July. While hybrid sales are not broken out by Honda Canada, we can do a little educated guessing. Since only 643 of those Civic sales were imports and the hybrids come from Japan, we can figure that those 643 were the hybrid models. Similarly, Canadians only bought 748 Insights in the same period. When it launched, Honda projected 10,000 annual sales in Canada. Evidently Canadians just aren't taken with hybrids – even the mighty Prius has only found 2,272 Canadian buyers this year.

Honda hasn't yet responded to a request for comment on the cancellation of these two models. Apparently, Honda Canada will proceed with the launch of sales of the CR-Z, maybe leaving it as the company's only hybrid. A tip of the hat to Mario!

[Source: Monvolant]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      'things are far worse for Honda's hybrids north of the border, where higher fuel prices typically cause people to buy more efficient vehicles, than they are in the U.S.'

      It seems weird that if they are so keen on fuel efficient cars they are not buying hybrids, including the Prius.
      Are they more expensive there?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The problem is that there is huge price difference. As Canadians we get ripped off on the Prius.

        The American MSRPs range from: $22,800 - $28,070 USD. The Canadian MSRP is $27,800 - $37,395 CAD. 1USD=~1.04CAD.

        Traditionally the discrepancy has been much greater. So I think people perceive as a very expensive car. A buddy of mine in montreal bought his Prius in the US and imported it personally (lots of paperwork) in 2005 and he saved almost $10,000 after exchange.
        • 5 Years Ago
        All cars suffer on mpg in the cold weather, but it seems the hybrids take a bigger percentage drop on efficiency once the hat and scarves come out. If hybrids like Prius/Insight only average in the 30's (instead of upper 40's) then I'm thinking the appeal starts to drop a bigger percentage as well.

        (maybe the Jetta TDI starts looking better to those with a northern exposure)
        • 5 Years Ago
        I bought my 2010 Insight EX in Northern California for $18k plus dest and taxes. The same car around Toronto/Hamilton Ontario goes for $27k

        The Insight is great for a 20k car but for 30 grand? That's stupid

        If I still had to deal with Canadian winters I would have bought another WRX
        • 5 Years Ago
        As skallos says, (some) new car prices in Canada are distinctly out of whack given the current exchange rate of $1.05 Cdn = $1 US. Ironically, I remember a time (about 20 years ago) when prices were way out of line in the other direction, and people were importing cars from Canada to the U.S.

        It is not just the Prius that is unrealistically priced, however. For example:
        Toyota Camry $19720 US vs $25310 Cdn (=> $24100 US, 22% premium)
        Toyota Avalon $32445 US vs $41100 Cdn (=> $39200 US, 21% premium)
        BMW 528i $44550 US vs $53900 Cdn (=> $51300 US, 15% premium)
        Volvo V70 3.2 FWD $33550 US vs $42495 Cdn ( => $40500 US, 27% premium)

        On the other hand:
        Toyota Corolla $15450 US $15460 Cdn
        Ford Fusion $19695 US $19084 Cdn
        VW Passat $27195 US $27775 Cdn

        So, in conclusion... I'm confused. Some manufacturers, with some models, price competitively. To be fair, the exchange rate has jumped around a fair bit. In the last year it's ranged from $0.999 Cad = $1 US to $1.105 Cdn = $1 US. And if you go back to 2008 the Canadian dollar was as low as $1.2955 Cdn = $1 US.

        But bringing it back to the Prius - clearly Toyota has decided it is a model that they do not have to price competitively to sell in Canada. If people are lining up to buy them (as they definitely did for the 2010 model), then why lower the price?
      • 5 Years Ago
      From one failure to another. Honda's IMA system is way too inferior to HSD. IMA was great in the first Insight back in 1997 but today is simply outdated.
      As far as I know Honda is working on a full hybrid system, but I'm afraid that will be too late.
      Toyota's series-parallel HSD has been unbeateble for more than 13 years now. Ford's advanced HSD system is promising and Nissan very own dual-clutch parallel hybrid system is interesting as well. Honda dropped the ball with their IMA.
        • 5 Years Ago
        According to the source:
        "Our dealerships will not keep any of these models in stock (Insight and Civic Hybrid) and the customer who wants to buy one will have to place an order and wait for the car to be delivered», said the Public Relation Director for Quebec."

        Apparently, BOTH (Insight and Civic hybrid) are still available in Canada, though they'll not be stocked by dealers in Quebec.

        Sam A.: Something lost in "translation"??? Haha.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Middle Way: I'm not interested in mindless cyber duels and I always resist of the temptation of the dark side, so prepare for your failure. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        EV Driver you claim that the manual is outdated tech, but why does it still wiegh less than an automatic and yet more enjoyable to drive, especially on small cars. Plus, people who drive manual transmissions early in thier driving carreer have less accidents over thier lifetime than people who drive nothing but automatics. Why is that?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You have angered me, EVdriver... prepare for cyber duel
        • 5 Years Ago
        Kevin: I don't thik so. I bet CRZ will be the same failure as the other IMA cars regardless its manual transmission.
        Manual transmission is an even more outdated, steam age technology required by internal combustion engine. So CRZ is a big step in a wrong direction. I don't beleive the new "sporty hybrid" concept would be more successfull than the previous "cheap(er) hybrids for everyone = Honda Insight" which totally failed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The only bad move honda made on the civic hybrid is not offering a manual transmission. The IMA system in an automatic has 0 excitement for driving. In a manual its a different story, and often times the manual IMA system got better gas mileage than the auto IMA systems. Manuals are just a bit more enjoyable to drive in a small tourqeless style car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The reason the original Insight got much better mileage with the stick was that Honda disabled the lean combustion with the CVT.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oops, that's 320+ miles before I fill up, and $20 to fill up.
      That's fun to me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So - the question is, what are they buying up north then?
      There is always some percentage of the market interested in efficiency.
      I can understand the honda thing, I'm not a fan myself.
      But what is pulling them away from prius?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Snowdog, quit being lazy, the internet quickly delivers accurate pricing info. Golf 5 door Comfortline trim level - gas 22,575, diesel 24,975.

        Canadians do buy more small cars and if US gas prices were $4.50 per gallon, we would to.
        • 5 Years Ago

        VW isn't much better with Diesel in Canada IMO.

        The cheapest Golf TDI is $25k. I figure I will be getting a competing Petrol car for about $20K. That $5K premium would never be covered... Get the TDI down to around $22K and I would have a look, but I can't justify paying $5K more.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ah, isn't Think built in Sweden? It is cold there, I believe they have kerosene heaters in them. Kerosene is not a fossil fuel, is it?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bravo brianp, you got it right, it's the winter the big difference with battery, LOL, they just work very bad in winter and the car need more power in winter so a double defect in winter. Almost nobody have said that ??? We are not well serve by the medias and internet websites.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hybrids have not caught on because there is not a single one on the market thus far, that makes dollars-and-sense when you crunch the numbers. And, Canadians (I am one) have less reluctance to buy a small car than Americans seem to have, hence why we've always bought Civics, Corollas, and Focuses (previously Escorts) while Americans bought Accords, Camrys, and Tauruses.

        The average Canadian who goes into a Toyota dealer looking for something economical, just buys a Yaris or a base Corolla. When you crunch the numbers, it does not make sense to buy a Prius. The payback period is pretty much forever. And, the automotive journalists here have not been shy to point that out. For some reason, Americans won't buy Yarises, but they are very successful here.

        The Civic hybrid also does not make sense when you crunch the numbers. For total cost of ownership, might as well just buy a regular Civic (or a Fit).

        It's not that Canadians won't pay any price premium at all ... VW diesels have been very successful, but the diesel version of that car passes the number-crunching test; the payback period is reasonable and they have (mostly) a good reputation here. Diesels in general are more accepted; you just don't buy a heavy-duty pickup with a gasoline engine here ... you just don't do it. Practically everyone buys the diesel version.

        There is also a general skepticism - whether warranted or otherwise - about how well the batteries in the various hybrid cars will put up with winter conditions. Much of the hybrid-car fuel consumption advantage goes away when there is demand for interior heat. Every time I see a Prius driving along in winter, when it's cold enough to see the exhaust, the engine is running (because the heater is on) ...

        I predict that all-electric cars aren't going to be well-received in the areas of the country with anything beyond moderate winters, either.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Smaller cars.

        Civic/Corolla are top selling cars in Canada, while Camry/Accord would be in the USA.

        The other factor is the Hybrid Premium is ridiculous in Canada. Civic Hybrid starts at 27350. Many people here will opt for a lower trim civic DX with Air and save over $10000 and still get very good fuel economy.

        We are talking about ~$500 difference in annual fuel costs vs $10000+ difference in purchase.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Jim I didn't say I would limit competing cars to a VW.

        I can get a nicely equipped Mazda 3 for ~$20K.

        Even in VW you are forced to up level trim to get the TDI.

        You can get a Golf Trendline starting at $20175. That has all the options I want, the trendline is decently equipped. The comfortline is high profit margin fluff.

        So it is $25K vs a bunch of $20K alternatives including even VW's own $20K Trendline Petrol.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As a Canadian, I had a 2007 Civic Hybrid and got rid of it after 2 years. The car would not heat up and keep the windows clean in winter. I froze! This is with the front completely blocked off and a block heater. It was totally unacceptable. I did hear about one other person who had the same "no heat" issue. They got rid of it after. So it wasn't just my car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The CR-Z is even more of a worthless vehicle than the Civic or Insight. A Smart car gets only 1 mpg less in combined driving while offering the same 2 seats and roughly the same cargo capacity...all for about $8000 US less....if people think Smart cars are dumb, I cannot wait to see the justification for the CR-Z to exist! Honda will be taking even more losses on that (worthless) vehicle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda + IMA = 100% Disappointment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm bought an Honda Insight here in Canada last year. I'm very satisfied with the car (except maybe for rear visibility). Given the money I save on gas, the fewer oil changes and the $2000 tax rebate from the government of Ontario on hybrids, my TCO is probably lower than a Civic, Fit or a even some Yaris (assuming there's not unexpected maintenance fees in the future) and I get a bigger, more useful car with a large hatch.

      When I bought the car I went into a few dealerships knowing what I wanted. I kind of got the impression that they didn't have much incentive to sell them. They didn't know and didn't seem to think that the 2000$ rebate applied to this new model (it did) and one sales guy made a joke insinuating it was some kind of hippy car and asked us if we were vegetarians.

      Of course this is anecdotal but if this attitude is widespread, I can see why they wouldn't sell too many.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Its funny, I bought a 2010 Prius and I got the same impression from all the Canadians dealerships. The salesmans didn't even know about the $2,000 provincial rebate and the Honda dealer was trying to sell me a Civic instead on an Insight. No wonder they didn't sell many of them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I noticed the same thing about car sale. It's the goddam commission to the saleman, they probably don't have a commission on certain sale but they don't tell the consumer, they say innepcies instead. The boss is the credit compagny, not toyota, not honda, not anyone except the credit compagnies managing completelly these sh*t derlership and car compagnies. They even refuse to sell a car for cash ?? they lie and only want to finance or lease. The hybrid gimmick is there because they collect subsidies. It's the same thing for battery only car, it's there because of state subsidies.

      It's the banks and petrol the BOSS, these car compagnies and associated dealerships are small, no-power sattellite compagnies with few money and huge liability in case of a slight drop in demand. Just compare the money from the banks and petrol, it's more then 200 to one, LOL. That's the only reason there is no hydrogen on the market, it's been impeded in reality by exxon and friends, that's all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My 2010 Insight is fun to drive, fun to feel the torque climbing small hills and fun to get 300+ mpg and pay less then $20 for a fill up. For us in the US it is affordable. Yes, the Prius is better, but there are other things I need to buy like R6 Windows, and a better oil burner that will also reduce my oil use.

      It's got a sporty ride, and the handling is excellent, with a sporty feel in normal driving. So, I here a lot of whining but I'm not seeing any facts about what's so wrong with this car. I'm getting 44 mpg with city/suburban driving.

      • 5 Years Ago
      In the US too, they do make an effort to get you into the Civic Hybrid instead of the Insight.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Since they are so expensive in Canada - just add $10k - (presumably because they are imported from Japan with a tarriff slapped on as opposed to being built in Canada or the US like the regular Corolla or Civic), no wonder they aren't selling. I'd drop them from the market as well if I was Honda.

      Toyota was going to start Prius production up in the US (I think it was stopped at one point but is going forward again) and once that happens, the price on the Prius will probably drop dramatically for Canadians and Toyota will have another big hybrid market to itself.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X