It's been a rough ride for the Honda Insight, and now its journey appears to be at an end – word is that the five-door hybrid hatchback is going out of production.
Insight hasn't amounted to even a tenth of Prius sales, and well over half of those sold were JDM.
The Insight nameplate was first introduced as a two-seat, three-door gas-electric hatchback just before the turn of the millennium, beating the Toyota Prius to market as America's first hybrid by over half a year. That original bantamweight Insight was discontinued in 2006, only to be revived in a larger, more Prius-like five-door form in 2009. But the new model never managed to keep up (let alone surpass) its rival from Toyota, which went on to become the best-selling dedicated hybrid car ever made.
As we reported just last week, Honda discontinued sales of the Insight (as well as its two-door counterpart, the CR-Z) in Europe due to lagging sales. But now word has it that the Insight is being discontinued altogether. The report from Bloomberg notes that the Insight hasn't amounted to even a tenth of Prius sales, and even then, well over half of those sold were in the Japan Domestic Market. Honda reportedly has 237 days' worth of inventory stockpiled, but dealers are said to have been told to stop taking orders.
We've inquired with Honda for official word on the Insight's fate here in North America, but have yet to hear back – we'll update you when we learn more. If the model is indeed dead, it won't be a surprise – we exclusively reported in December that it killing the model was on the table.
Of course, it's possible that the Insight will remain in production for a while to service other markets – potentially Japan only. The decision casts the future of the CR-Z into doubt as well, as the three-door model relies on a similar generation of Honda hybrid technology, and it's the only model in the automaker's lineup that actually sells fewer examples than the Insight. One way or another, Honda would still have its Civic and Accord hybrids to sell, not to mention the FCX Clarity fuel cell and Fit EV. Either way, it appears the Insight's days are numbered.
UPDATE: Honda spokesman Sage Marie tells Autoblog:
"The fates of Insight and CR-Z are not necessarily intertwined as they are very different models with very different missions. Moving forward, our hybrid vehicle strategy will focus on new hybrid models featuring expanded application of our innovative two-motor hybrid system with an eye toward significant volume growth. "