Are the Days Numbered for Honda’s CR-Z and Insight Hybrids?

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Despite having a hybrid program for roughly the same amount of time as Toyota (NYSE:TM), Honda’s (NYSE:HMC) partially electric offerings have never enjoyed the same kind of success that the Prius has, not just in the U.S., but globally. Due to a shortfall in sales, Honda is pulling the plug on the CR-Z hybrid and the Insight hybrid in Europe, leaving some uncertainties about the models’ futures stateside.

Despite a sales surge of 9 percent for the CR-Z in America last year, that only brought sales to about 4,550 units; sales for the Insight fell around the same, at 4,802 vehicles, though that represents an 18 percent slide over the year prior. As of the the first of this month, Honda was managing a 187-day supply of CR-Zs in the United States and a huge 237-day surplus of Insights — more than double the 99-day average for Honda’s range as a whole, according to Automotive News. 

Honda’s older hybrid vehicles have never lived up to their competition in terms of mileage and fuel economy. Despite being of similar proportions to the Prius, the Insight manages just 41 miles per gallon city and 44 on the highway, well below the Prius’s 51 city and 48 highway. The CR-Z, though, was built to balance hybrid efficiency and sporty performance but left many feeling that it lacked either.

However, as Hans Greimel at Automotive News reports, Honda’s decision to eventually cut the models from its U.S. lineup (despite the company indicating it has no plans to do so) is actually more based on the fact that the Insight’s dated drivetrain has actually been rendered obsolete by Honda’s own new system, rather than a competitor’s.

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