Honda dumps S2000

An­other sports car falls vic­tim to hard times, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.