Scoop – Honda CR-Z is for Older People

June 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Japanese News, Latest Articles

We have received word in Japan on how popular the Honda CR-Z is proving to be with older people, the latest sales figures moving the goal posts for would be “sports car buyers” again, this time into a much older age category than is normally the case and all the manufacturers are climbing over each other to get a slice of the “Hybrid-pie”…

Honda CR-Z2

Traditionally, new sports cars are the domain of the guy in his 20′s to 30′s. Not any more. The CR-Z is the first of a potentially long line of cars to appeal to older buyers in their 40′s and over. All of them sporting something Hybrid.

Older buyers are taking to the “Hybrid Sports” concept, and specifically the Honda CR-Z like it was 70% off at IKEA, with a strength in sales even Honda hadn’t envisioned. Numbers speak of sales at more than 10 times the previous estimations that were made by the Japanese company, indicating a massive surge in support toward the movement for “Green Sports Cars”.

Honda CR-Z1

Men in their 30′s make up the bulk of the CR-Z’s sales which is acceptable to the casual observer. The real shock comes from where the other chunk of buyers of the car are coming from and according to the figures, a whopping 35% of buyers are those over 40, marking out a real paradigm shift in the sports car mentality for the Japanese male. This obviously doesn’t answer the argument that the Japanese males Western counterparts may desire a car altogether completely different and are arguably a lot younger and hungrier for a traditional turbo charged inline 4 as opposed to “Hybrid” anything. A meager 15% of males in their 20′s who have purchased the CR-Z tell the story of how impotent the “sports car” is to young Japanese adults.

Obviously the people at Honda are not listening to any of this and are happy to just sell cars it seems.

Honda CR-Z3

The sports car market, in itself, is still in good shape, price, design and concept wise if based on the current climate and if the product is right, there is a chance that these cars will sell, and sell well. Why? Perhaps BP has an idea…

CR-Z_F34_lg

Right now, the Japanese market is poised to take on an onslaught of “Hybrid-Sports” vehicles, with each manufacturer keen to offer up its own take on the theme.

CR-Z_R341

And yet, one question lingers and a new one is asked…

Does this signal the death of the “traditional” Japanese sports car as we know it and if so, is this what the manufacturers would have us accept as its replacement? The argument “for” the change, at least from the manufacturers of the technology, certainly says so.

It makes us wonder whether the riots in Thailand were over the direction Honda is taking with its Hybrid technology instead of over a pay dispute…

Words: Adam Zillin

Photos: Honda Japan

Source: Best Car Magazine.

  • http://www.pacificcoastjdm.com Derek

    I have seen three of these driving on the road now. They pop up everywhere.

    The change to hybrid for the core base of sports cars is a ways off from what I see. I’m even surprised that a slightly sportier looking Insight is doing as well as it is. I would not have guessed.

    What does this mean for tuners? It’s interesting. I can envision capacitor systems running similar to nitrous now, and upgrades in batteries as cost comes down. It’s an interesting time even though the pure drivers out there wouldn’t consider something like this.

  • http://7tune.com Adam Zillin

    Derek, don’t encourage THEM!!

  • S_fourteen

    I am shattered with disappointment every time I hear the words hybrid sports car. I just hope Nissan and Toyota won’t go that route.

  • Stingray

    One of the reasons for the possible delay of the FT-86 is the possibility for the car to get a hybrid system, the Nissan Z could also get a hybrid system and even a diesel engine, It looks like the eco mentalist bastards are winning, the bad part is that all we can do is to wait and hope.

  • Calster17

    It’ll be a sad day when all the compact sports cars are ‘green’(i personally dont like Green cars….Yellow is much better!) and hybrid!

    Thing is, i think most people dont mind what it’s powered by! If the CR-Z was powered by 2 liter petrol engine would of it sold the same ammount? Hybrids are just a ‘feel good’ thing for if you feel bad about the envoriment! They arn’t going to make Globle warming goaway….just slow it down a bit!

  • Stingray

    Assuming that the global warming is not a hoax, right?

  • K’

    “Green” is such an arbitrary color, big businesses could have conditioned consumers to associate the color brown with saving the environment and it wouldn’t have made a difference whatsoever.

    On a more serious note, I’m surprised there’s so much resistance to the idea of gasoline-electric performance. Most hybrids, even in “green” form, make more torque off the line than the majority of gasoline powered “sports” cars on the road today.

    I blame it on the media.

  • Stingray

    Not really Ken, the media can take only a to small part of the blame, the car makers and extremist environmentalists are the ones to blame for that. The car makers for associating the word hybrid with boring to drive cars and fuel efficiency and ignoring factors like sportiness and performance(see here the CR-Z, if the car would came with at least 170-200 hp engine to cover up for the extra weight of the hybrid system, the people would be more tempted to try and buy one, and the hybrid car image would get a boost). As for the enviro-extremists, people hate hybrids because they are promoted by eco minded hippies who are scratching the paint from big engined sports cars, who are making holes in people’s tyres, when in big groups, they are braking windows of sports cars and SUV’s or they even set them on fire.
    Oh and there is the price, in Europe the CR-Z has the same starting price(about 20000 euros) with the 200hp Civic Type R hatchback, witch one would you rather have? :-P

  • MR2turbo

    This sucks. Why is it these car makers think these are the types of cars we want? I want to smell and hear my cars – not sit in them in silence. I don’t like the smell of electicity either. Are they really losing the plot or have they already lost it?

  • MR2turbo

    I’d take the Type R. Leave that hybrid rubbish for the old people who care more about their milage than the cars performance!

  • http://7tune.com Adam Zillin

    @ S-fourteen
    “I am shattered with disappointment every time I hear the words hybrid sports car. I just hope Nissan and Toyota won’t go that route.”

    You’re out of luck on that one. Nissan is reported to be putting together a diesel hybrid Fairlady Z believe it or not and have sent a test car to the States for development. Toyota are said to be working on a few cars, including a revised MR-S.

    I really don’t know how I feel about all this pressure the Japanese car makers are putting on the market to force people to accept the idea of Hybrid Sports cars before it is ready for them.

    I do not want to buy a Hybrid car and will prefer more traditional offerings instead. I agree with MR2turbo when he said he would rather smell and hear his cars. I do too.

  • K’

    Stingray, I totally agree with you on that point too. As you said, the blame cannot lie solely on the media. While the media only highlights one aspect of hybrids and manufacturers are currently pushing towards the eco-friendly movement, the information is out there and we can only blame ourselves as enthusiasts for not digging it up and educating ourselves of its capabilities.

    Though this car is currently weak sauce in terms of “real” performance, Honda is one of the few that are gearing towards the true potential of hybrid cars. We might be moaning and groaning about it now, but a few years down the line when the technology evolves a little, it’ll open up a whole new world of performance. I’m one of the few that are supporting this step from Honda because it’s just that; the first step. You can’t be the fastest if you don’t run, and you can’t run if you don’t know how to walk. A little at a time.

  • http://www.pacificcoastjdm.com Derek

    I know a way to make a sports car “eco”

    Lose the weight. They you get great mielage and still have a car that is fun to drive… When did we forget that low weight cars are eco friendly. You used to be able to buy 55mpg CRXs in the early eighties. They weren’t safe but that is another story.

    The Elise is pretty good on gas…

  • mike

    if they want an hybrid sports car put some GE powerplants with some 370 KW and bring some 400HP and we will all be happy.
    However the reality is that, some people like to hear the sound of internal combustion and feel its power when youre standing near of it or driving it. Electric motors dont make noise or have a lot of mechanical noise.

  • Azlin Kassim

    Kekekeke, I bet I know why older guys are buying these cars; the Missus won’t let you get one of those old ‘Gas Guzzling Sports Cars’ because you need to save for your retirement or kids’ education. I can imagine the husband whining “But Dear, its an eco car so just think of the savings on fuel!”.

    Unluckily I fall under this category…

    Luckily I still own an ‘old Gas Guzzling’ Sports Car to satisfy the urge.

    Seriously, if green cars can mirror the the performance of what we believe a sports compact car is or was (Hachirokus, Supras, Skylines, Silvias, Rx-7s, S2k, Impreza STIs, Lancers) then I’m all for it since you get the benefit of fuel savings AND owning / driving / modding sports compact cars.

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