Honda E originally planned for US market
Decision makers were worried that there would be "no demand" for the quirky EV.
The unique Honda E may have narrowly missed its opportunity to land in US showrooms.
The diminutive retro-themed EV was initially revealed in concept form at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Surprisingly, it kept its unique styling for the production edition that debuted last month.
Some potential buyers in America were disappointed to learn that the E will only be sold overseas. The model's project leader, Kohei Hitomi, says he "really wanted to have that one as well in the US" and the "US was included" in product planning from the beginning, according to an interview with Jalopnik.
"The biggest worry is maybe there would be no demand," he explained.
The compact city-car segment has been struggling in the US for several years. Fiat sales collapsed by 38 percent in the first three quarters of the year, while MINI has experienced a nearly 19-percent drop and Daimler will stop selling its Smart brand in the US market next year.
It is unclear if the broad decline is solely related to buyer preferences shifting toward bigger vehicles, or if many potential customers simply do not like any of the available models. In any case, Kohei has hinted that Honda was paying attention to the E's positive reception in US media and may resume talks of a potential American arrival.