There it sits in the back row of the Honda dealer’s lot, looking lonely and forlorn: A 2015 Honda Insight. It’s the most scorned vehicle in America, sitting an average of 170.7 days on dealer lots before finding a buyer.
Honda announced as far back as November 2013 that it would stop taking dealer orders for the slow-selling Insight hybrid. In 2013, Honda moved only 4,802 of them, and in 2014 that number dropped to 3,965. In April this year, only 183 were sold, down more than 58 percent from the same month in 2014.
On a list of 10 Cars Americans Don’t Want to Buy, the Insight is the #1 Poster Boy.
Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Navigant Research, says the Insight was star-crossed from the beginning.
It has never come close to meeting sales expectations. That said, I think its current orphaned status is what has pushed its days-to-sell number so high. Honda hasn’t actively marketed the Insight with any advertising support in a long time. I’m guessing that the actual inventory of cars is pretty small, and the few that are left may well be sitting in the back of the lot largely forgotten.
The Cadillac ELR, an upgraded and more expensive Volt, has never found an audience. (Photo: Cadillac)
The other big loser on the list is Cadillac, with the ELR (158.6 days in inventory), XTS (144.6 days) and ATS (138.1 days).
There’s not much that can save the ELR at this point. “Aside from its styling, it doesn’t offer any functional advantage over the mechanically identical Volt, and far less utility because of its coupe body style,” Abuelsamid said. “The updates to improve the performance for the 2016 model along with a price reduction may help, but the ELR is only expected to remain in the lineup through 2017 anyway, by which time we should have the CT6 PHEV with other plug-in hybrids coming as well.”
The larger XTS is also an unloved product that is nearing the end of its life on Earth, and won’t get a direct replacement. The poor performance of the ATS is more surprising, because Abuelsamid notes it was well-reviewed and “is generally considered to be very competitive with BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-class and Audi A4.” The arrival of the high-performance ATS-V might help revive the line.
Given the lackluster results with these cars, Cadillac’s recovery is really riding on the high-end CT6, which I thought looked spectacular at the New York Auto Show. But it’s the people with money in their pockets who matter.
The Fiat 500L: The styling took a dive. (Photo: Fiat)
So what other cars are on the list?
Nissan GT-R (169.9 days): Do you see, this performance-obsessed car magazines? Nissan listened to you, and brought out this $100,000 road rocket, only to have it sit on the lot.
Infiniti Q60 (158.3 days): Here’s proof that Japanese luxury lines can and do fail. This $40,000 luxury coupe is in a space crowded by BMW, Mercedes and Lexus.
Buick Verano (144.7 days): This entry-level luxury sedan, with an MSRP of $23,380, may be sitting around for a long time, but it’s also profitable for GM. Buick’s biggest market these days is China, amazingly enough.
The Nissan GT-R got them excited at the car magazines, but the public isn't ready to pay $100,000. (Photo: Nissan)
Fiat 500L (140.1 days): An ungainly beast at best, the 500L manages to lay waste to the neat styling of the original 500. No wonder the stretched Fiat (MSRP: $19,195) isn’t selling here, though it has many fans in Europe.
Volvo XC90 (139.5 days): This one is quite simple: The long-in-the-tooth XC90 is being replaced with an all-new, much improved car. People are waiting for it.
Kia Cadenza (138.8 days): Large sedans are not doing well in the luxury marketplace. The Caddy XTS and the Kia Cadenza are suffering similar fates. Last month, 598 were sold in the U.S., and just 20 in Canada.
Related on MNN: