“Can it get any worse?” is more than likely a rhetorical question the good folks at Japan’s Honda’s HQ are trying to avoid asking themselves.
No doubt, the past few years of lacklustre North American product launches, what’s looking like a massive financial hit for the once-perennially-profitable automaker, plus the economic and natural catastrophes at home are making 2011 a year Honda wants to see in the books.
Yet, a glimmer of hope that Honda may finally be digging out of its hole with good old-fashioned product has come out of a recent Reuters report.
In discussing Honda’s recent woes, it noted that Honda has had to delay the launch of some new North America-bound new models, including a new Japanese-market Fit Shuttle — a compact station wagon based on our existing Fit hatchback.
Related: Honda Fit as a fiddle on the highway
At least the Shuttle hybrid has been a hit in Japan. Apparently, Honda has 7,000 orders in hand for the new car over a five-week period ahead of the start of domestic sales this past Thursday, a “fraction” of the orders received by rival (and larger) Toyota’s Prius V hybrid wagon, due in Canada later this year.
Although Reuters doesn’t say, it’s expected that a hybrid version of the Shuttle will be sold here. Which is interesting. Despite people questioning the value proportion of expensive hybrids, even with gas prices historically high, automakers are pumping new models into the market like crazy. Ford recently announced that its version of the Mazda5 mini-minivan, the C-Max, would be hybrid or fully electric models only when it comes to North America.
Anyway, the news that Honda is considering a non-Honda USA-designed model is encouraging. The sooner the head office in Japan stops listening to their American counterparts, the brainiacs who came up with the sedan-only Civic, Ridgeline and bloated Accord sedan and Crosstour, and the entire Acura styling disaster, the better.
Now, in Japan, the Fit Shuttle hybrid starts at 2.03 million yen ($20,000), compared with 2.35 million yen ($30,000) for the five-seater version of the Prius V. But that’s mainly because it’s a lot smaller: subcompact versus mid-size.
So while I applaud Honda (if it really does bring over the Fit Shuttle), if the automaker really wants to move some metal over here, it should be considering its one-size-up Stream (left). Much like the Mazda5 is based on the compact Mazda3, the Stream is based on the Civic, and would certainly stop the “Where’s my Civic hatchback/Accord wagon?” whining from former Honda fans.
Do you like the idea of a slightly larger Fit hybrid?
If Honda does bring over the Fit Shuttle, should it be offered as a gas model as well?
Or do you think Honda is better off bringing over the larger Stream?
(Sources: Reuters, Honda)
Columns Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
- You can unsubscribe at any time. Please Contact Us for details.
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STAR'S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X