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Honda Urban SUV Concept Introduced

Honda’s smallest crossover will be built alongside Fit in Mexico.

by on Jan.14, 2013

Honda's Urban SUV Concept is a sleek departure for the company that previously brought us the boxy Element.

What, you were expecting an Element redux?

Two years after ending production of the intentionally ugly-duckling boxy Element, Honda showed the Urban SUV Concept, a thinly disguised look at a new small crossover that will slot in below the CR-V in the Honda lineup at the Detroit auto show. Key competitors will be the quirky Nissan Juke and the Fiat 500L, a supersize version of the diminutive Fiat 500.

Sleek and Modern!

While the trucklet’s profile is similar to many other small crossovers – including big brother CR-V – a unique, upswept character line that suggest speed.


Honda Pulling The Plug On Element

Finishes run with 2011 model-year.

by on Dec.03, 2010

Bye-bye Element, at the end of the 2011 model-year.

The innovative, if controversial Honda Element will be pulled from production at the end of the 2011 model-year, the Japanese maker has announced.

Launched in 2002, as a 2003 model, the Element was an archetype of the boxy design niche that has gone from unique to near-mainstream, with the launch of competitors like the Kia Soul, Scion xB and Nissan Cube.

“It made boxy vehicle designs cool,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “The Element proved that ultimate functionality can often come from thinking inside the box.”

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Honda took a number of small steps to try to keep Element fresh, adding more power and safety features in 2007, for example, and even launching the Dog Friendly Element accessory package in 2009.

But it failed to come up with a complete makeover in a segment where hipness and freshness are critical.  Some owners wandered off to competitors like the Soul, the hot seller in the boxy segment, right now.  Others stayed within the Honda franchise but shifted to more mainstream offerings, such as the similarly-sized CR-V crossover.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia

This week's raves, rejoinders and remembrances of things past.

by on Apr.24, 2009

Country Music Video Dramatizes Plight of Detroit’s Auto Workers

I’m not a big fan of country music, other than Willie Nelson, but there’s a recent country music video homage to the Detroit’s devastating automobile industry’s economic and personal abyss by country star John Rich.

Called “Shuttin Down Detroit,” the emotional, touching, poignant music video stars Kris Kristofferson as a laid off auto worker and recent Oscar nominee, Mickey Rourke is his shop buddy. Through series of well produced, acted and directed scenes Kristofferson’s story unfolds. Inter cut among the acting of two real pros is John Rich, photographed in a dismal empty factory singing his original lamentation about the industry’s economic woes, affected auto workers and Wall Street.

It’s tough stuff. Click here. Also on You Tube same music but with images and graphics added obviously by a native Detroiter. has also put up another country and western song about the collapse of Detroit. (more…)

NY Auto Show Goes to the Dogs

Honda unveils pet-friendly Element

by on Apr.09, 2009

Anyone who says things are going to the dogs should first check out this pet-friendly version of the Honda Element.

Anyone who says things are going to the dogs should first check out this pet-friendly version of the Honda Element, on sale next autumn.

We expect we’ll continue to hear the one-liners for some time.

“I’ve always wanted to do a real dog-and-pony show,” suggested Honda PR-meister Sage Marie.  “The New York Auto Show is really going to the dogs,” chimed in a colleague.

What triggered the puns?  The Japanese automaker’s introduction of a pet-friendly version of its boxy van-alternative, the Element.