Honda dumps S2000
Another sports car falls victim to hard times, writes PAUL GOVER
THE checkered flag has come down on the Honda S2000. The open-topped sports car was made to celebrate the Japanese carmaker’s 50th anniversary but, as global sales of most brands tank, Honda is ditching the car to keep its business moving.
Production will end with the last of the 2009 model-year S2000s, which means about June or July. Honda Australia has only three cars in stock and does not expect to have to re-order.
‘‘It’s run its race. We’ve been working on a customer-order basis for a couple of years. We haven’t had too many in stock,’’ Honda Australia’s Mark Higgins says
Production of the S2000, which costs $73,590 in Australia, has topped 110,000 cars since the first was built nine years ago. The US topped the S2000 sales charts with 65,000 and Japan was next with 20,000.
‘‘It was introduced in Australia in 1999, which was the biggest year for sales. It did well in 2000 and 2001 but slowed after that. We have sold 1818,’’ Higgins says.
The S2000 decision comes after Honda confirmed it had canned its planned replacement for the NSX sports car.
It showed a concept at several of the big motor shows, but eventually decided it could not justify the cost, or the potentially poor publicity, to put it into full-scale production.
Instead, Honda is looking towards hybrid vehicles to give it a sporty push for 2010 and beyond. As does Lexus, it believes a small petrol engine with an electric booster will work best and give the potential for emission-free electric running in cities.
‘‘We are changing direction and looking more towards hybrids. The CR-Z is slated to be a sports car in the style of the original CR-X,’’ Higgins says.
The production version of the Honda CR-Z will probably be at the Tokyo Motor Show in October, though it is unlikely the two-seater coupe will now be developed into a drop-top.
On the S2000 front, Higgins says it’s not too late for fans to get a car.
‘‘People can place their orders until the end of April. They’re looking like collector’s items now,’’ he says.