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The Honda Element...

  #1  
Old 01-01-2018, 02:25 PM
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The Honda Element...

Why did Honda stop producing this vehicle?

Part of reason I liked The Element, is why I like The Fit. The versatility. Something beyond just being a "vehicle". You get that to some degree with The Fit and the configurable magic seats.

I liked The Element, because of it's unique look and utilitarian features.
There isn't anything like it really left on the market.

No knock on the HRV, but you can kind of look at the HRV as either an enlarged Honda Fit, or a downsized CRV.
It's nice product, maybe even a great product, but one that feels to me like it was produced out of a focus group, greatest majority approach.

It seems to me, with the departure of The Element. And even with the latest Honda Fits...which look to me much more mainstream and refined than previous generations, Honda is in danger of becoming.....boring.

I liked my Gen 2 Honda Fit in many ways because of how it WASN'T like a normal vehicle.
The sloping sculptured dash. The IMO beautiful instrumentation panel. The over sized knobs and the nearly Alice in Wonderland number of cup holders.

I like my Gen 3 Honda, but it's much more...normal looking. There's no surprise storage compartments, or ridiculous amount of cup holders.

The Element? Wasn't aerodynamic looking. It wasn't homogenized to fit the look of an entire product line. But IMO, it was great.

Honda isn't alone in this. All automakers seem hesitant to take risks with their product line. There's a lot of money riding on the success or failure. The Nissan Cube, was unique, but wasn't successful enough, leading to it's demise.

I just look around the automotive world right now and there is nothing that makes me very excited. Everything looks like everyone else's version of the same thing.

Nissan might as well sell the Versa hatchback under the moniker Fit Twin, they look so much alike.

I'd like to see Honda...and other automakers, push the envelope against the commonly offered products. I don't need a new sedan, or another urban based SUV product.

But I fear as long as appealing the the homogenized greatest number of potential customers is the goal?
Products like The Element face a real challenge in even being produced.
 
  #2  
Old 01-01-2018, 06:24 PM
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i think the biggest issue was that it wasnt very fuel efficient for college kids and young folks to use and the gas prices were pretty high when those things were sold. they only ran like 21-22mpg combined.

and the SC trim did not mean supercharged.. i was pretty bummed about that cause finally they painted the oddball plastic pieces on the fenders and looked like a nice sporty urban box..but no power. pass
 
  #3  
Old 01-02-2018, 11:10 AM
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When I was car shopping in 2004 I looked closely at one. I liked many aspects of the Elephant, but it was bog slow, handled like a boat & really drank fuel. I ended up with a 2005 Subaru Forester XT. It drank fuel too, but it hauled arse, handled better & was fun to drive.
 
  #4  
Old 01-02-2018, 11:39 AM
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yah, good choice, ash!
 
  #5  
Old 01-02-2018, 05:34 PM
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I think that, at the end of the day, a mini-van offers better fuel mileage, equal cargo capacity, and possibly better handling.

The SC versions of the Element were appealing in their own way though. Same with the Scion xB. The Nissan Juke isn't as good at cargo capacity, but would be more fun to drive and is has that funky vibe.
 
  #6  
Old 01-02-2018, 08:02 PM
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yah, juke was one fugly weird looking car for sure. people were calling it the nissan puke. lol

made the aztek look normal.
 
  #7  
Old 01-02-2018, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by kenchan View Post
yah, juke was one fugly weird looking car for sure. people were calling it the nissan puke. lol

made the aztek look normal.
Any of them look better than the Nissan Cube. The asymmetrical rear just hurts my eyes.
 
  #8  
Old 01-02-2018, 08:13 PM
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oh yah.. and that car... the cube! lol
 
  #9  
Old 01-02-2018, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fitchet View Post
Why did Honda stop producing this vehicle?
It's not complicated. There is only one reason a car company stops producing a car. Because it's not profitable.

The reasons have already been listed in this thread. Bottom line, if Honda made profit on it, they'd still make it.
 
  #10  
Old 01-03-2018, 06:59 PM
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like honda Fit-EX with no variable intermittent wipers.
 
  #11  
Old 01-05-2018, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by sneefy View Post
It's not complicated. There is only one reason a car company stops producing a car. Because it's not profitable.

The reasons have already been listed in this thread. Bottom line, if Honda made profit on it, they'd still make it.

You hit the nail on the head. Bravo!
 
  #12  
Old 01-05-2018, 01:03 PM
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You do realize the First Sentence of my post was more or less a rhetorical question presented to advance a discussion about the lack of real creative unique products in the auto industry?
Not REALLY asking why The Element was discontinued.

Just for kicks...you might want to read beyond the first sentence.
 
  #13  
Old 03-25-2018, 04:26 PM
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I always figured the Element died in 2011, along with the popular Ford Ranger and Panther, due to increasingly stringent crash safety standards. That is what really pressures innovation in the industry these days.
 
  #14  
Old 03-25-2018, 04:41 PM
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ford is bringing back the ranger next yr, i think.
 
  #15  
Old 03-25-2018, 04:51 PM
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Yeah, but on a completely bigger (and globally-sold) platform. We will have to accept cars in NA that are palatable to markets across the rest of the globe. The salad days are gone for us...
 
  #16  
Old 03-26-2018, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ashchuckton View Post
When I was car shopping in 2004 I looked closely at one. I liked many aspects of the Elephant, but it was bog slow, handled like a boat & really drank fuel. ...
Funny -- we test drove a new 2004 as well and came away with the same appraisal. We thought it was overpriced as well, given its low-buck-but-practical rubber interior. And road noisy too.

I still smile when I see them though for the reasons fitchet described. The neighbor has a 5-Speed AWD Element nicely outfitted for his business, tool chest and all. Just perfect for his needs.
 
  #17  
Old 03-26-2018, 08:55 PM
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I always wondered who the Element was for. Someone who wants a car that's exactly like the CRV mechanically, but with less ground clearance, worse fuel economy, styled like a microwave, one less seat, and less comfortable interior? (In fairness, it was a bit cheaper).

Now I think I partially get it. It was for people who wanted a more rugged, semi-work truck. Or who have dogs. Or like being "active" with the mud and stuff that comes with that. Turns out, there just weren't that many people out there who are sufficiently active (i'm look at you obese America!) to need a car just for that -- or rather, there may be, but they mostly like looking cool while being active, and the Element certainly did not do that. I see plenty still in use by small businesses, but now the Ford Transit Connect and similar have that market covered. It would be interesting to see Honda attempt a small commercial auto lineup; they're certainly respected in the power tool and atv space already.

Why maintain a separate product line when you could tweak the CRV's marketing and capture the same audience?

I also think Honda was a bit ahead of the game when it came to the subcompact crossover craze -- a downscaled Element would sell well these days. Then again, as someone pointed out, we kind of have that -- the HRV. It's slower, less ground clearance, less space than the CRV (and it's a bit cheaper). I personally like the look of it a lot.
 
  #18  
Old 03-27-2018, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by fujisawa View Post
I always wondered who the Element was for. Someone who wants a car that's exactly like the CRV mechanically, but with less ground clearance, worse fuel economy, styled like a microwave, one less seat, and less comfortable interior? (In fairness, it was a bit cheaper).

...

Why maintain a separate product line when you could tweak the CRV's marketing and capture the same audience?
Honda could not answer your valid question, hence the cancellation of the Element. I can only guess they were trying to head off prevailing trends towards Utility vehicles by imagining a split between urban and rural applications.
 
  #19  
Old 03-27-2018, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 9exponent View Post
...due to increasingly stringent crash safety standards. That is what really pressures innovation in the industry these days.
Though crash test standards to certainly influence innovation, fuel economy is by far the biggest force behind innovation these days.

As for the Element's target market, I once read someone's derisive post on an ultralight backpacking forum somewhere as follows:

"North Face wearing, Mountain House eating, Honda Element driving 'outdoors people'"

That sums it up pretty well.
 

Last edited by sneefy; 03-27-2018 at 03:07 PM.
  #20  
Old 03-27-2018, 03:48 PM
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Where I used to see the most Element's were at road bike meets and dog events. I think they were popular with both crowds.

Now I see more Subaru's at those events.
 

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