Honda has hit rough water with sales of its new CR-Z, Accord Crosstour and Insight models According to Automotive News, the three models are underperforming in a big way.
Take the Insight hybrid, which is falling 40,000 units short of even the most conservative estimates inside the company. Outsold 8-to-1 by its Toyota Prius rival, Honda has only managed to shift 19,325 units through November – the company originally targeted sales of 60,000 to 80,000.
Likewise, thus far this year, Honda has sold nearly 20,000 fewer Crosstour models than its biggest competitor – the Toyota Venza, selling just 25,927 units compared to the Toyota's 43,325. Need we remind you, Honda's original sales goal for the Crosstour was 40,000 units per year, a number we were deeply skeptical of after first driving the vehicle at its launch last November.
Although it hasn't been on the market that long, early sales for Honda's new CR-Z hybrid coupe aren't any more encouraging. Automotive News reports that Honda had conservatively intended to sell around 15,000 of the two-seat hybrids per year, but so far, only 4,373 have made their way off of dealer lots and another 3,000 are currently sitting in inventory. Thankfully, there is one bright spot in the Honda stable – the 2011 Odyssey. The minivan bowed in September, and it's performing well against a minivan segment that has heated up with a range of new competitors.
Automotive News suggests that the problem boils down to a change in Honda's image from a company with compelling products to one that plays it safe. Throw in styling that isn't for everyone and aging (but still selling) models like the CR-V and Accord, and you've got a recipe for decreased market share.
Honda, meanwhile, says that it doesn't focus on market share because that leads to bad habits (read: incentives), instead opting to focus on percentage-increases in vehicles sold. That's a fair strategy, but slow sales of key new models suggest that Honda needs to do some soul-searching. Might we suggest getting back to its roots as an engineering-driven car company?