Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid now sold in California only?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Mrmayhem4, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. RickSE

    RickSE Active Member

    I pay $0.24 per kWh so at current gas prices highway driving is a wash between EV and gas. However I charge for free at work and my round trip commute is around 35 miles depending on the whim of waze. So I’ve paid $0.00 to commute 5 says per week. I don’t think I represent most people’s experience because this car is perfect for my needs of a commuting car that gets great highway mileage and my weekday driving is essentially free. I figure that gas will at some point because uncompetitive with electric rates over the 10 - 12 years I plan to own this car.
  2. RickSE

    RickSE Active Member

    I just saw a Honda commercial that listed all of the cars the offer rated best in class by KBB. Listed civic, accord, crv, pilot. Hmm one KBB best in class Honda vehicle was missing from that list.
  3. Two weeks ago, I was happily driving my 2013 Volt with every intention of keeping it another 6 or more years. A red light runner changed all that and the Volt was declared a total loss. To be clear, I had no plans to be entering the car market before my crash.

    I have specific color preferences that put the nearest desirable Clarity Touring almost 500 miles from home. Rather than try to fit a long distance car purchase into my schedule, I decided last week to purchase an interim car to give me the time to allow me to order a car. I'm hopeful that the 2020 Clarity will continue to offer what I want and that I'll actually be able to order one through a local (SE Michigan) dealer sometime next spring.
  4. How about stressing how you’ll meet the nicest people?

    bill_m likes this.
  5. MPower

    MPower Well-Known Member

    Like the folks on this forum.
  6. bill_m

    bill_m Member

    nicest and most intelligent ☺️
  7. MajorAward

    MajorAward Active Member

    Those ads worked, as over the years I have had 1-3 Hondas in the family at any given time. Here are two of the three I currently have. My son has the other (2015 Civic) at college.
    AlanSqB, Tomrl, hanman and 2 others like this.
  8. RickSE

    RickSE Active Member

    Talked to the Honda sales manger this morning in MA. They have a ‘19 in stock with a vin in the 800s. He hadn’t heard about the decision by Honda to only ship new Clarities to CA. He did say that Honda was no longer passing the tax credit through for people leasing the Clarity. Apparently they leased a bunch of them earlier this year until the lease program changed and MA stopped the rebate. Then sales went way down.

    The ‘19 battery was not charged but he said they had a demo car that they keep charged up for test drives. They had an Insight sitting right next to it. No comparison to the Clarity IMO. Bigger trunk, but no legroom in the back seat at all.

    I mentioned my concern about being able to get the car repaired. He said the repair guys just get on the phone with Honda specialists anyway. When I asked about parts like a cracked windshield he did say that might be a concern.
  9. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Honda's come a long way from the 1958 Super Cub to this 2015 photo of Honda President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo between a Clarity Fuel Cell and a 1958 Super-Cub!


    But where is the Honda EV Cub they've been teasing us with since 2009 (this is the 2015 teaser, then promised for 2018)?

    MajorAward, sniwallof and 2002 like this.
  10. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member

    I suspect he's right about repair. Dealer mechanics, any mechanic really, routinely faces working on a car for the first time whenever new models come out. They have detailed procedures that they follow and if they come across a problem they can't solve they contact Honda tech support. Also note that from a technical standpoint the Clarity has a lot of similarity to the Insight and also the Accord hybrid, both of which also use the same i-MMD hybrid system as Clarity, although I think I have read that Clarity is using the previous version of i-MMD that was on earlier models of Insight and Accord.

    Sure when you are talking Accord or CR-V it won't take long before they have worked on a lot of them, but they still can run into a particular problem even on an Accord that they have never seen before, and it will probably take longer for them to repair it.

    What I think we can expect due to the rarity of Clarity in most markets is that repairs will take longer, both due to the mechanic needing to take more time, and due to the slowness of obtaining parts since I get the feeling most Clarity parts are stocked in Japan not in U.S. warehouses.

    Unfortunately that seems to be the case for windshields also, that is something they really need to change and start stocking Clarity windshields in U.S. warehouses. If we are really lucky Safelite will start making windshields for Clarity, for other cars they are licensed manufacturers for AGC Automotive the company that makes our AGC Lamisafe windshields. Safelite versions are manufactured under the brand name AGC Technoglass. But I don't know if 30,000 is enough cars for Safelite to start building windshields for it.
  11. czbo

    czbo New Member

    Looking at the US sales data for Clarity PHEV (see chart below), a few observations:
    1. 2018 sales average 1500 vehicles per month.
    2. Sales in California continue to ramp up from 100 per month to 500 per month in March 2019. If the trend continues, then it should reach about 800 per month by now.
    3. 2019 sales average is about 1000 vehicles per month.
    4. Sales in New York peaked in winter of 2018 (comparable to CA, actually), then continues to slide in 2019 so far, approaching zero in July.
    Some other thoughts:
    1. Honda's production capacity for 2019 model dropped from 1500 per month to 1000 per month. Or maybe their allocation of capacity for the US market was adjusted down, with the balance allocated for other countries (Japan, Canada, etc.).
    2. Looking at rebate data, it can be seen that Tesla's Model 3 captured a large market share starting in 2019, with a big surge in January.

    honda clarity sales chart (1).png

    data sources:
    sniwallof and 2002 like this.
  12. bill_m

    bill_m Member

    I don't know if this will relieve some of your anxiety, but I do have this bit of evidence:

    My Clarity recently suffered a bit of frontal trauma, requiring new front bumper plus fender plus many connecting parts. I took it not to the dealer but to a recommended local body shop ( a local Caliber Collision). They seemed to be quite familiar with the car and indicated that the parts would arrive in two to three days. Well, surprise surprise, the parts arrived in two to three days. They replaced, painted, and recalibrated the sensors, finishing within their estimated time period. No big deal for a competent shop.

    Yes, it was a fairly minor job, and did not involve the windshield. But I cannot believe it differed in any respect from how they would have handled any more familiar or more abundantly available vehicle.
    (On the other hand, it was the second shop that I had brought the car to: for an estimate the first body shop had been afraid that if they opened the hood, they would get electrocuted. Needless to say, they did not get my patronage. )
    2002 likes this.
  13. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    1,979 total in NY now, that is surprising! I think I've seen maybe one other Clarity in upstate, NY (mostly central, NY "CNY") since Clarity came out in Dec. 17. They must be mostly down state in the NYC burbs, LI, and probably a few in Rochester and Albany, with just a few sprinkled across the map everywhere else from Buffalo to Plattsburgh to the Catskills, and maybe a small peak near Binghamton and Ithaca?
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  14. RobinBrain

    RobinBrain Member

    How did you find how many in NY?
    I've seen several in NYC, most will probably be in LI, since the Clarity allows you to take the HOV lanes during rush hour, with only one person.
  15. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    See post #100 by @czbo (an interesting comparison of CA and NY sales over time), the links are there including the link to NYSERDA's (the NY agency that implements NY's EV policies) data page Drive Clean Rebate Primary Statistics . I used that page a lot when looking at Bolts, but forgot about it since then. You can see sales over specified intervals of time with two buttons on a slider bar. There is dealer data, which can be filtered by regional sales too. You can filter by zip and county too. I think it is by dealer location, not buyer residence.

    622 sold in Nassau and Suffolk (LI)
    356 Richmond, Kings, Bronx, Queens, New York (includes Staten Island, many homes there, Bronx and Queens, might be suburbanish, L2 driveway or garage)
    202 Niagra, Erie, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming (Buffalo, more than Albany, Rochester)
    140 Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga
    115 Monroe (Rochester, NY)
    105 Greene Columbia Ulster Dutchess Putnam (Hudson Valley)
    101 Sullivan, Delaware, Orange, Rockland (NW distant NYC burbs, near NJ)
    78 Oneida, Onondaga, Madison (Syracuse, Utica)

    That's most of them - 1719 out of 1979, a small number are probably BEV. Also, many of us traveled a bit (50 - 150+ miles) for a better deal or a better dealer, e.g. mine is from the Albany area, and I live close to Utica.

    That makes sense more on LI for the HOV stickers. I originally forgot the Hudson valley too, a swath of counties from Albany down to the northern NYC burbs. Governor Cuomo has made a big push for EVs and roof top and municipal solar arrays, so next to the west coast, NY numbers are probably relatively high in national lists.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  16. Have we gotten a little sidetracked from the topic?
    Ken7 likes this.
  17. DucRider

    DucRider Well-Known Member

    Eh, what?
    Please point to anything Honda has said about low demand.
    Everything I've seen has referenced strong demand and limited supply.
  18. 2002

    2002 Well-Known Member on the day the story broke on August 6th:

    In an email, (Honda spokesperson) Ms. Paul stated "We are always monitoring the market and can make adjustments to supply accordingly, but Honda remains disciplined in our approach of matching supply and demand and, in this case, that means focusing sales of Clarity PHEV vehicles in the market with the strongest consumer demand."

    It would take quite a lot of benefit of the doubt to interpret this as they just can't make cars fast enough to keep up with nationwide demand or even demand in all of the ZEV states.

    Between approx. October 2017 (earliest mfg date that I know of) and December 2018 they were able to produce over 23,000 2018 models for the U.S. market. From December 2018 through approx. July they have only produced barely 5,000 2019's. Although it is possible that the approx 50% drop in production for the U.S. market is due to capacity limitations, Honda has not made any statements to that effect that I am aware of, so the general assumption has been that the problem is more demand than supply.
  19. Roger Lambert

    Roger Lambert Member

  20. DucRider

    DucRider Well-Known Member

    Good morning,
    The article that came out and prompted this is not entirely accurate. Here’s our full, official message from our PR team:

    The state of California is the largest market for plug-in hybrid vehicles. In order to meet customer demand we are currently prioritizing supply of the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid in California, rather than allocating units for dealer inventory in other markets. Dealers in all 50 states are able to order Clarity PHEV vehicles and customers can purchase or lease a Clarity PHEV in all markets outside of California. We are always monitoring the market and can make adjustments to supply accordingly, but Honda remains disciplined in our approach of matching supply and demand and, in this case, that means focusing sales of Clarity PHEV vehicles in the market with the strongest consumer demand.

    Thank you,
    Don Laine
    Zone Sales Manager
    American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

    Oregon dealers cannot get cars for inventory, despite strong demand (and this has been the case for over 6 months). It is your premise that Honda has excess inventory (supply exceeds demand) and they are stockpiling them somewhere? And refuse to ship them to dealers who want to have them available to sell to customers?
    If there is not a supply constraint, why are dealers that want them unable to get get inventory?

    Sorry, but the low demand/excess inventory theory just doesn't fit the facts.

    Having a greater need for the TZEV credits in CA combined with a limited supply of vehicles (EV credit don't "travel" anymore, only FCEV credit do) is a much more logical explanation. Honda has written enough large checks to Tesla in the past, and I'm sure they want to avoid it in the future.

    It is not a surprise that parts of the country show low demand, (whether because dealers are clueless, car looks "odd", or whatever), but that shouldn't preclude dealers outside of California from getting inventory if they want it. Currently Honda only wants sales from CA, and that most certainly indicates ZEV credits driving the decision.

    I am not naive enough to believe press releases word for word, but there are certain facts in them that are verifiable (reasons/motivation not so much).
    Since the PHEV is costly to produce given it's two complete drive systems, it could very well be losing too much money without the "revenue" from ZEV credits, production was decreased, and the inventory available is most profitable to them in California (they likely met the other Section 177 regional requirements and have enough credits in the bank).

    Whatever the reason for the pullback on inventory availability outside of CA, low demand is not an explanation that fits (even though demand may indeed be low)
    Mark W likes this.

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