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.
“We are discontinuing one car, but for us the real story is how committed we are to our core car products,” Gary Robinson, Honda’s assistant vice president of product planning, told AutoNews. “I get it that there are people who will be disappointed, but I have complete confidence that what we’re going to be able to offer people in the marketplace, they’re not losing anything.”
With crossovers, trucks, and SUVs continuing to dominate sales, the case for compacts and sedans—especially the more focused, enthusiast variants—begins to dissolve in the eyes of corporate overlords. Ford made waves last year when it announced the dismissal of its sedan offerings for 2022, which was seen by many as a controversial move (though the decision was necessary for Ford to adapt to consumer demand). While Honda risks losing buyers, the product pruning frees resources for future products. This fat-trimming is also logical when you consider that the two-door Civic and stick-shift Accord comprise only 6 and 2 percent of their respective model’s sales.
Losing the Civic Coupe and row-your-own Accord is a blow to our enthusiast hearts; the Fit is, sadly, yet another victim of cheap fuel and America’s increasing obsession with SUVs. Even among those who want a compact car, the Fit’s old-school, light-weight Honda vibe simply isn’t compelling. Buyers are more likely to shop the Civic family; for about $4000 more than a Fit, buyers can pick up the larger, more powerful, and more fuel-efficient Civic hatchback. However, Honda is finding that the CRV is the real sales leader; the manufacturer moved 10 times more CRVs than Fits this year, even through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is this a temporary pause while Honda’s engineering troops regroup for next-gen models, or has another manual transmission been sacrificed to the crossover SUV brigade? Let us know your thoughts.