By Ma Jie
Honda will end production of its Insight model, the first hybrid vehicle introduced in the United States, after Insight demand plunged and sales lagged behind Toyota’s Prius.
Honda informed dealers in November that the current generation of the Insight will be discontinued this month and asked them to stop taking orders. The company declined to comment on whether there will be a new version.
The Insight was the first hybrid vehicle in the U.S. market when Honda introduced it in 1999, seven months earlier than the Prius. The Toyota hybrid went on to become the best-selling dual-powered car with cumulative sales of 3.19 million vehicles as of January. By comparison, Honda delivered a cumulative 280,629 vehicles of the Insight globally as of the end of last year, of which 157,275 were sold in Japan.
U.S. sales of the model plunged 18 percent to 4,802 last year, making it the second-worst selling car in the Honda brand lineup, behind only the CR-Z hybrid, according to researcher Autodata Corp.
Honda began February with 237 days’ worth of supply of the Insight, according to Automotive News Data Center, almost four times the 60-day inventory that automakers generally consider to be ideal in the U.S. market.
The automaker with Ohio operations stopped production of the first-generation Insight in 2006, before reviving it in 2009.