Honda announced today that it will discontinue the Fit, remove the Honda Coupe from the line-up, and end production of manual-transmission Accords. While the decision axes its least popular models, Honda’s distilled Civic lineup will retain most of the configurations we know and appreciate, like the high-performance Si and Type R and the normcore, manual-equipped Civic sedan and hatch.
Read the full article on Hagerty.com:
"the two-door Civic and stick-shift Accord comprise only 6 and 2 percent of their respective model’s sales". OK, that sounds paltry, but do they realize that this will drive some long standing customers to a competitor who still offers 3 pedals? And those people may never buy Honda again.
With those numbers, it may still be worth it to lose those customers, "forever" though the possibility is slim. I realize the std. trans is a lightning rod in any conversation here, but if it was say, "only 2% buy the vinyl top version" would we be surprised if the option was dropped?
Unfortunately this is the future of the industry. I reacted with dismay when Ford dropped the Fusion (still disagree) and soon after GM followed, the Fiesta is gone, Chev. dropping the Spark or whatever it was.. and now the Fit. People just don't buy enough of those cars to justify the manuf. cost anymore. I know a lot of people talk about all the different models in the past but manuf. is much more expensive now along with crash testing each variation of a model ( part of the problem with the manual trans is additional crash testing) , all the nanny safety devices, etc... More profit in trucks and SUV's.
The Fit lives on in its cute-ute offspring, the HRV - same basic size and "magic seat," but taller and 500 extra cc's. Flip up the rear cushions and it's the perfect vehicle for old dogs - after I built a low step, mine could walk right it. Otto's gone now, but I still love my Ottomobile.
Thoughts this article spurs:
-We don't need to excuse these automaker decisions. History has shown them to be wrong about many things, many times. GM and Ford both had well-developed minivan concepts in the 70s "it won't sell"...
-not developing a new platform I can see. If the Fit (and Fusion for that matter) still meet safety standards then the reason for not making them is cutting autoworker jobs as you already paid for the platform so keep using it. "Free up the line to make crossovers" is a funny excuse I don't buy. Many, many lines have been closed in North America in the last 15 years.
-Honda makes generally great and/or perceived as great vehicles. But they have gotten out of touch on price-point. If Ridgelines were 10k cheaper and came in a few actual colours so they didn't blend in with all the Pilots you could probably sell enough to make up the difference in mark up. Fit could sell like gangbusters if it was actually affordable like the entry-level Hondas of 30-40 years ago.
There was no market for a British sports car. Mazda proved us wrong on that one. Honda could have been the last one standing on the stick-shift mid-size family sedan (Accord) and built a pillar of identity on that. Someone is going to sell a vehicle to these niches, especially if the masses ever wake up to how boring conformity crossovers are. Conceding that doesn't mean we need 6 companies selling a stick-shift midsize family sedan. But boy, it's going to be ironic when the only car you can buy in North America is a Jetta or Subaru and they "bizarrely" are profitable.
For those of you drivers out there that want you vehicle to last to 300,000 miles, you are better off with a Standard transmission as it will easily out last an automatic and provides the benefit of an anti-theft device (95% of thieves can't drive stick)