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.
[Source: Automotive News - sub req'd]