Southern California Honda Dealerships Sell Out of Fit EV Following Price Cut
The Los Angeles Times reported this week that a recent series of price cuts from automakers aimed at increasing the attractiveness of electric vehicle models has been successful, leading to long waiting lists for the Honda Fit EV and strong dealer demand for cars like the Fiat 500e and Chevrolet Spark.
Last month, Honda announced that it would cut the monthly lease price for its Fit EV from $389, to just $259 per month. The move came after Chevy and Fiat announced sub-$200 per month leasing for their small electric sedans. Less than a week after the announcement, reports began to come in that Honda dealerships were selling out of the car.
This week, a commenter on PluginCars.com claimed to have called five San Francisco Bay Area Honda dealerships in search of a Fit EV only to be told that all 1,100 vehicles that Honda will sell in the United States have been promised to dealers. At the MyHondaFitEV.com forum, commenters claimed to have been told by dealers of waiting lists more than 50 names deep.
"It's incredible, especially since we haven't had any foot traffic or interest in the car in six months," said Jeff Fletcher, of Honda of Santa Monica to the L.A. Times. Fletcher said he was unsure of whether Honda will be able to fully satisfy demand from the names currently on its waiting lists.
Demonstrated Demand for Affordable EVs
Though it is unlikely that Honda or Fiat will turn a profit from their limited-run offerings, the recent surge in demand for affordable EVs serves as a powerful contradiction to voices calling plug-ins a failure. Total sales for the mass-produced plug-ins like Nissan LEAF haven’t yet lived up to initial hopes, but key improvements and a lower starting price for the 2013 edition of the car have boosted sales in recent months to more than four times last year’s numbers.
Interest in smaller EVs like the Fit, Spark and 500e has also been high. According to the L.A. Times, the Spark received five times as many requests from dealers as Chevy can allocate, and some Fiat dealers already stopped taking orders on the 500e.
Not yet three years since the launch of the Nissan LEAF, the starting price of the most affordable EV on the market has fallen by more than $7,000, with the lowest available monthly lease dropping from $350 per month to $199 per month. Buyers are responding. Though it remains to be seen how long it will be before carmakers can turn a profit on an EV priced to compete with gas-powered cars, recent evidence indicates that drivers are increasingly willing to pay the going rate to drive an electric car.
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