Honda Element Bites the Dust

December 6, 2010

Say what you will about the affinity of consumers – especially younger buyers – to purchase quirky boxcar-like vehicles. One of the oldest is about to become history. Honda just announced that 2011 will be Element’s final model year production.

Introduced in 2002, the unique box-shaped crossover was designed specifically to go after the younger consumers – and it succeeded, for a time. The year 2003 was Element’s first full year of production and marked its peak of 67,478 sales.

Heralded for its innovative features, including neoprene seats and washable floors that appealed to buyers with active, outdoorsy lifestyles, the Element soon attracted older buyers as well. Empty-nesters and Baby Boomers joined the ranks of Element owners.

But the last seven model years have seen a disappointing drop in sales. Last year, only 14,884 Elements were sold. Even a dog-friendly Element model introduced for 2009 hasn’t stopped the fall.

American Honda executive vice president John Mendel said in a statement, “The Element proved that ultimate functionality can often come from thinking inside the box. It made boxy vehicle designs cool, and Element owners continue to enjoy its unique styling and unmatched versatility.”

According to a report in Automotive News, the demise of the Element leaves the door open for Honda executives to do spin-offs from the CR-V, scheduled for redesign next summer. Honda’s statement of the Element’s end-of-life cycle noted that consumers have recently been opting for the CR-V’s comfort and versatility.

While it may be a sad day for some Element owners, the unique crossover does retain its place in automotive history.

Also see The Car Connection for Nelson Ireson’s report on the death of Element.

[Honda, Automotive News]

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