Yesterday Honda was reported as planning to axe the limited-market all-electric version of the Fit, and the Insight hybrid.
The Fit EV (pictured) is lease-only, and Honda only ever committed to producing 1,100 units. It will be canceled in the fall, but supported until leases run out.
As for the Insight, the latest generation of America’s original hybrid that was launched in 1999 will be sold through year’s end.
Honda had long since played catch-up with Toyota with the Insight which uses a less sophisticated hybrid system. It does have a following, but the car clearly looks similar to a Prius Liftback, gets lower mpg, and costs less. What do they say? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?
But Honda is not throwing in the towel. It actually is sitting on various hybrid systems proving themselves in various cars around the world.
According to Edmunds, the company will develop more models around its two-motor system as found in the 2014 Accord Hybrid – itself a nameplate that was discontinued with a V6 hybrid system last decade, only to be brought back last year with a super efficient four-cylinder, two motors, and virtual transmission.
“Our path forward includes a new generation of electromotive technologies, including expanded application of our two-motor hybrid system,” wrote Honda spokesman Sage Marie to Edmunds.
Honda will also have more news on its next generation of its FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle in the coming weeks.
Beyond that, it’s wait and see. The company has not said anything about its one-motor hybrid system making its way stateside, but the Japanese market Fit Hybrid is rated for higher mpg than the Toyota Prius c – Toyota’s highest mpg car sold in the states.
In an interview this year, Honda told HybridCars.com the intent is quality and customer service rather than reasserting its potential to compete more fully with Toyota.
But that it has this potential is not lost on Honda, even if it has not signaled a clear roadmap, or what its next battery electric or hybrid in the Insight’s class might be, if any.