With its sales volume flagging, Honda has announced that the youth-focused, activity-oriented Element will be dropped from the automaker's U.S. lineup after the 2011 model year. Based on the previous-generation CR-V platform, the Honda Element sold over 67,000 units when it was introduced as a 2003 model. A versatile, high-value alternative to conventional SUV/crossovers, the Element boasted an easy-care interior and loads of readily reconfigurable cargo space made even more accessible thanks to its rear-hinged rear-side doors and the absence of a B-pillar. Although it benefited from ongoing upgrades to its powertrain, safety equipment and feature set, Element sales have remained in a steady state of decline. A victim of both time and competitive pressure -- even from the CR-V itself -- the Element's 2010 unit volume will likely end up below the 15,000 mark.
Despite news of its demise, this unique Honda mini-hauler has managed to find favor with over 325,000 total buyers to date. "The Element proved that ultimate functionality can often come from thinking inside the box," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. "It made boxy vehicle designs cool, and Element owners continue to enjoy its unique styling and unmatched versatility."
No word yet on whether the automaker has any plans to replace the Element with some other distinctive variation based on the next generation of its still extremely popular Honda CR-V. However with that mid-size crossover due for its own major makeover sometime next year, the question could be answered in the relatively near future.