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Element will die; what's next?

Automotive News reports on Honda's plan to replace the Element.

Honda Element
Automotive News
Honda Element
Honda's Element will die after 2011, thanks to several years of poor sales. Automotive News

LOS ANGELES--American Honda Motor Co. is expected to look for new derivatives to build on its CR-V platform, after killing its slow-selling Element crossover.

The CR-V is scheduled for a redesign next summer. Honda executives have said the automaker enjoys the flexibility of the CR-V platform and what it can provide in terms of spin-offs.

Honda's decision, confirmed last week, to kill the Element after the 2011 model year comes after seven straight years of declining U.S. sales. The quirky, boxy crossover was designed to attract young buyers, but didn't.

The Element, based on the CR-V crossover, went on sale in late 2002. It carried such features as washable floors and neoprene seats intended to appeal to buyers with active, outdoor lifestyles. The Element soon became popular with active, empty nest baby boomers and retirees, whose average age wasn't far off buyers of Honda's other products.

Annual U.S. sales peaked at 67,478 in 2003, the Element's first full year on the market. From 2004-06, the Element sold in the mid-50,000 unit range. Last year sales dropped to 14,884, and this year's sales through November are down 4 percent.

A dog-friendly version, with grippy, bone-patterned floor mats and a cargo area set up for a dog carrier, was released for the 2010 model year.

(Source: Automotive News)