Honda Gives Up On Hybrid Models Insight and CR-Z
|   Sunday, February 23, 2014
Honda will stop selling in Europe the hybrids Insight and CR-Z because of extremely low demand. It remains to be seen whether Europeans will get the hybrid version of the new Jazz in 2015.

Honda was the first automaker which sold a series production hybrid model in Europe. This happened when the two-seat Insight was introduced in 1999, a year before the Toyota Prius. 

Now Honda will run out the existing stocks of the five-door hatchback Insight, and CR-Z sports coupe and stop offering them in Europe, according to Automotive News Europe.


Of the most important markets in Europe, the Honda hybrid models are still on the company's website in France and England, but not in Germany, Spain and Italy.

The hybrid version of the Jazz will be the only alternative propulsion model of the Japanese brand currently available to customers. However, Honda announced it has not decided whether Europe will get the hybrid version of the new Jazz, scheduled to reach the market in 2015. 

The Honda CR-Z was launched in 2010, and has been criticized for its relatively low power of 122 hp and average performance, although the Japanese maker marketed it as a "sport hybrid coupe". It uses a hybrid powertrain with a manual gear (a premiere for a series production hybrid car).

In 2012, Honda upgraded power to 135 hp, but this did not lead to a sales increase. The CR-Z doesn't seem up to the "sport" label (0 to 100 km / h takes 9.1 seconds, hardly an achievement) nor is it economical enough for a hybrid. Overall, the car does not offer enough to justify the price tag attached to it.

The Honda Insight has failed to impress European consumers too, although fuel consumption is much lower than the CR-Z (4.1 l/100 km, or 68.9 mpg UK, or 57.3 mpg United States) and 96 g/km of CO2. However, even this figure is behind the segment leader, Toyota Prius, which scores 3.9 l/100 km (72.4 mpg UK / 60.3 mpg U.S.) and 89 g/km of CO2.

Since the rise of hybrid cars in Europe, Honda has sold a total of 125,000 units, but recently sales have dropped. According to JATO Dynamics, the Honda Insight sold 1,242 cars in 2013, down 62 percent from 2012, and the CR-Z hybrid went to only 695 customers, down 66 percent. 

Honda also announced that it has sold about 4,500 Jazz Hybrid cars in Europe last year, compared to 7,500 units a year earlier.

In Europe, diesel cars rule supreme now. The company introduced a new 1.6-liter engine for the Civic compact and CR-V SUV specifically designed for the European market. The new diesel mounted on the Civic emits 94 g/km of CO2, compared to 96 g/km for Insight.

Overall, Honda hybrid car sales are weak, compared to Toyota. Toyota sold 153,000 vehicles in Europe, up from 107,000 units in 2012. Most of them were hybrid versions of the Auris and Yaris, both made in Europe.
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