Honda to Discontinue Element After 2011 as Sales Slide

Honda Motor Co., the fourth-largest automaker in the U.S., said it will discontinue the Element sport-utility vehicle after the 2011 model as sales fall for the seventh straight year.

Deliveries of the Element peaked at 67,478 in 2003 and have declined every year since, dropping to 12,960 this year through November. Consumers have shifted to models like Honda’s CR-V compact crossover SUV, the Tokyo-based company said today in an e-mailed statement.

"Compact SUVs have been one of the strongest segments this decade, but the Element never proved to be a high-volume seller despite its low price," Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for automotive data provider Edmunds.com in Santa Monica, California, said in an e-mailed statement. "It probably suffered from too much competition -- even from within its own showroom."

U.S. auto sales have risen 11 percent this year amid an 18 percent increase in deliveries of sport-utility and crossover vehicles, pickups and minivans. Honda’s CR-V, built on the same line as the Element in East Liberty, Ohio, is the top-selling model among U.S. SUVs and crossovers this year, up 4.7 percent to 180,589 units.

Honda’s U.S. unit is based in Torrance, California. The company trails General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. in U.S. auto sales this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net; Bill Koenig at wkoenig@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kae Inoue at kinoue@bloomberg.net

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