Most cars are targeted at a specific niche market, but the folks at Honda have designed a car for the masses. This ad for the Insight proclaims: This car is for everyone! Buy one and be like everybody else!
The Insight is an inexpensive hybrid, designed to be the 21st century’s Trabant. Honda is attempting to reinvent the people’s car, a brave new car for citizens of the 21st century living in the age of the new Great Depression (at least those who still have jobs and can still afford to buy a new car). At a time when the government ignores the skyrocketing unemployment rate, and middle class people are bing forced into homelessness, it won’t be long before the Insight is the only new car that anyone will able to afford.
Honda introduced the second-generation Insight in its home nation of Japan in February 2009, with releases in other markets expected through 2009. The new Insight went on sale in the U.S. on March 24, 2009. At $19,800 as a five-door hatchback, it is the least expensive hybrid available in the US.
“We know you’re broke,” Honda says. “This car is cheap. Look, we even put in an MP3 jack. How about that!”
This strategy has made the Insight wildly popular in Japan. In a culture that doesn’t place a high value on individuality, driving the same car as everybody else isn’t seen in the same negative light as it is in the United States.
But times change, and with them, their demands.
By Marc Librescu