I drove up to the Honda stand at the Tokyo Motor Show with one question burning in my heart, in my eyes, on the notebook: Why isn't the Honda Fit planned for sale in America? What I got was a bit of a bummer when I looked over the rather handsome new car. "It's being considered," is all the project manager could tell me.
"We have plans for the Japanese market and the EU at this time," Takeki Tanaka, head of the new Fit said to me when I first picked up the cloud hanging over the new fit in the American mind. We want to know why we can't get hold of this thing. We buy more fit than any other hatchback like that, not that there are many for sale anymore. Ford won't sell you a Fiesta, or any actual car for that matter.
The more I looked over the new Fit, the more I knew that Honda still cannot commit to US sales for this one thing. Other American journalists here in Tokyo were not too keen on the styling, but I appreciate it. It looks like a disgruntled robot, or a giant dust pad from the next decade. It looks like other lukebacks should look like, not that Americans want to know what it is very soon.
Honda has not released specifications on the car yet, and it coincided with it being a failure. "Brand new Fit, with four comfortable features that specifications cannot express, world premiere" as read its press release . We made it a new two-engine hybrid system, and we got the general design of accessories:
The base type of the all-new Fit offers both high-quality design and comfort for the occupants. This type will have a simple and inviting design including a front face design with a gentle appearance and seamless and fluid exterior shape.
This type tries to realize a relaxing and carefully designed room with high visual and tactile quality by coordinating colors and materials, including natural fabric chairs made from high quality materials, a genuine leather-packed steering wheel and Prime Smooth ™ soft padding.
This type has exciting color coordination and adopts water repellent materials for the seat surfaces and soft padding on the instrument panel. It is a sporty and fashionable type that allows customers to enjoy running just as they like fitness and sports.
This type has an exterior design developed exclusively for CROSSTAR as well as 16-inch aluminum rims, which look great in both urban and outdoor environments. As for the interior, water repellent materials are used for seat surfaces and soft padding on the dashboard. This type projects an improved image of a compact yet tough vehicle.
In an effort to create a space where people can spend elegant and comfortable time, standard genuine leather seats were designed as an exclusive feature of this type while striving for outstanding visual and tactile quality. For the exterior, platinum-style chrome paint and 16-inch aluminum rims were used to enhance the high-quality feel.
A ness-special Fit is cute, I hate to say.
What I wanted to know was how important of a question this was for Honda, and I asked how significant the development program is on Honda. I imagined it was at a lower level than the Civic, but how much? "I'm not sure of the exact ranking, but there's not a big difference between this and Civic," Tanaka explained. This is a big deal for Honda, and it surprised me more that the company would leave America out of it.
Tanaka couldn't speak to how long the new Fit was in development, or how far down the line the car was when America was cut out of plans. ("It's confidential," he repeated several times.)
Gradually, he stepped back. He told me that America is not completely out of the cards for Fit. "It is considered," were his exact words as above.
Honda had to work to fulfill additional emissions and crash regulations sales in the United States, and although the exact cost of it again was confidential as Tanaka expressed , Honda should really spend the money on it. Ford and GM dropping cars from their lineup feel incredibly short-term these days in America, as all sorts of expect financial problems in the future, and cheap gas will be over. I told Tanaka just as much, and he smiled and said he would pass it on.