Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What's Up With the Slow Honda Fit Sales?

Slipping Honda Fit Sales
If you pay attention to our monthly subcompact sales posts, you may have noticed that the Honda Fit seems to have taken a nosedive off the sales cliff the last couple of months. Sales were down more than 80% in October and September, and down more than 50% in August when compared to last year's sales at this time. So what's the deal? People opting for other subcompacts? Is the bottom falling out?

Rather than simply speculating, we went right to the source: Honda. We asked the company's Automotive Public Relations person, Chris Martin, what was going on, and he said this:

The same new factory that was building the Fit for the last two years in Celaya, Mexico earlier this year began producing the all-new HR-V as well. As we worked to build up HR-V inventory for the U.S., Fit production suffered a bit. To add complication, the HR-V then went on sale in Canada and Europe shortly after the U.S. on sale, and those markets are also supplied from Celaya. Typically at introduction, we try to build up a significant amount of inventory in each market to help get the model off the ground. In this case, that meant reducing Fit production for an extended period of time. Since HR-V has been a run away hit, we are now taking steps to build additional Fit units in Japan, and the first of those units from Japan are beginning to arrive now. It may take a few months for things to settle back into a "normal" pattern, but we expect both Fit and HR-V to continue to grow sales over the next year.

So there you have it. It's been a supply issue, and Honda is tapping its Japanese factories to remedy it. For what it's worth, I've heard from a few Subcompact Culture readers that when the Fit first came out, dealers had scads of them on lots. However, now you're hard-pressed to find one on any of the lots, and now you know why. The good news is that if you want a Fit, the cars should become more readily available soon.

1 comment:

Jason Reece said...

I was a Honda/Acura loyalist for 16 years, starting with my first car- a red '85 CRX. I owned 11 different Honda and Acura vehicles over those years. In 10/05, I met a drunk driver in a curve on MY side of the road! I managed to avoid a head-on collision thanks to the sharp reflexes of my '02 Acura RSX. He ended up hitting at an angle just behind my driver's side door before I went airborne into a thick forest of pine trees. I walked away with only superficial airbag injuries, but my RSX was literally wrapped around a big tree.

As much as I loved the RSX, I had struggled with the $480/month payments for three years. Based on my income back then, I spending $200+ more per month for that car than I could afford (counting insurance and car payment). When I went to buy a new car, I was prepared to go with a new mid-level Civic. Imagine my surprise (nausea) when I saw the 2006 Civic for the first time! It looked like the demonic offspring of a suppository and a doorstop!

I remember leaving the Honda dealer feeling depressed and confused because I didn't have another choice in my price range (and the idea of buying a non-Honda was, in my mind, blasphemous and sinful to even consider). In my despair, I wandered into the Mazda dealership next door and bought a 2006 Mazda3 s 5-door (and I've had a few others since then).

But if the Fit, which didn't arrive until late 2006, had been available in 2005, I would have bought one. I still think it's the most appealing and interesting car that Honda makes and the last 'real' Honda left. I'd still buy one now if I didn't love my Mazdas so much.

I realize that this was posted almost four weeks ago. But according to inventory, there are almost 5,100 NEW Honda Fits for sale in the U.S. as of this posting. So the inventory seems to be increasing. But you never see more than one or two (if any) on dealer lots because they move so quickly.