Not their finest hour: Honda Element

Celebrating the greatest cock-ups in automotive history. Today we look at Honda Element
By Sony Thomas, Deputy Editor
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March 20, 2017
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Clearly, the person who came up with the idea was not in his element. Nevertheless, Honda's peculiar new crossover, which was a mish-mash of a twin-cab pick-up and an SUV, was called the Element. When it was launched in 2003, Honda was confident that the Element's unusual, tall, boxy design and its suicide doors would have youngsters making a beeline for its showrooms. However, within the first year of its debut, it was clear that the clientele that Honda hoped to attract didn't find the car appealing at all. Instead, it proved to be mildly popular with an older group of buyers.

This was mostly because this minority, who didn't mind the Element's quirky exterior styling, were attracted by its remarkably spacious cabin, and the ease of loading and unloading large cargo afforded by rear-hinged back doors.

However, despite the practicality it provided, the clamshell design of the doors meant the front doors had to be opened first before rear passengers could be let in or out. Many customers, especially those who had to drop kids to school, found this irritating.

Naturally, sales kept dwindling, both in Europe and the US, and even the efforts to market it as a pet-friendly car after it won www.dogcar.com's 'Dog Car of the Year' award in 2007 couldn't help prevent the slide. It was indeed a dog's dinner and with sales hitting rock bottom in 2009, Honda decided to kill the Element off with the 2011 model year.