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Falling From First Place - Honda Clarity Sales Drop To Also-Ran Status

The Honda Clarity is quickly becoming a no show. Here's just how far and how fast this green car has fallen.

One year ago, the Honda Clarity was the number one affordable electric vehicle sold in America. Its sales topped 2,00 units twice in the past year, and in December of 2018, its sales nearly reached 3,000 units. Which is why its rapid drop in sales is so stunning.
clarity chargingHonda Clarity Sales September
This past September, Honda only sold a total of 548 Clarity family vehicles. That is down from 2,200 last September 2018, a dramatic drop of 75%. The Clarity is now no longer in the top group of EV sales. In fact, its low sales rate has placed it in the "also-ran" category of EVs nobody pays much mind to, since their sales don't add up to a hill of beans in a country where the Prius maintains a monthly sales rate average of 5,500 units and the RAV4 Hybrid is averaging over 10,000 units sold per month.
Read Our Unbiased Review Of the Clarity Here
Honda Moves Clarity Home To California
It is unclear why Honda has not promoted the Clarity, and why it has opted to withdraw the car from dealerships across the country. Just a couple of months ago Honda moved the Clarity to California only. However, the company says that any dealership in America can order a Clarity for a customer. Without dealer inventory and test vehicles for customers to drive, the Insight, Civic, and Accord are likely to be the customers' choice. Perhaps that is the intent.

Clarity deals at hondaHonda Clarity Popularity
Ironically, Clarity has proven to be extremely popular with owners and fans. The Honda Clarity PHEV Owners Club on Facebook has over 2,000 active members and posts cover a wide range of topics. Despite its popularity, some Honda dealers are offering deep discounts on the Clarity PHEV. We checked the Drive Green website which lists green vehicle deals in our area and found discounts of as much as $8,500!
clarityHonda Clarity Fast Facts
The Honda Clarity is a midsized car available (in some areas) as a battery-electric or plug-in hybrid electric drivetrain. The PHEV has accounted for the bulk of sales. As such, it qualifies for a federal tax deduction of up to $7,500. In combination with dealer discounts, Clarity cars in our area cost just over $21,000 after incentives.

In addition to covering green vehicle topics, John Goreham covers safety, technology, and new vehicle news at Torque News. You can follow John on Twitter at @johngoreham.


Steve Pemberton (not verified)    October 2, 2019 - 12:05PM

The pullback to California actually started in about February, but was only admitted to by Honda in early August after being questioned by car websites after it was noticed that the 2019 model Clarity was only being shipped to ZEV states, and that even cars on dealer lots in east coast ZEV states had VIN numbers below 1,000, indicating production no later than February, whereas cars in California already had VIN numbers above 5,000.

Andy S (not verified)    November 2, 2019 - 2:28AM

This time when you say affordable EV I absolutely agree. With the $1700 down $179 a month leases in SoCal, they are an absolute bargain to get into the carpool lane and there are tons of them rolling around in carpool lanes. Not to mention they qualify for the $2500 state rebate and $1000 SCE rebate, the car is basically free for almost 2 years. Bargain!

As for actually seeing them not in carpool lanes but rather seeing them used on weekends and around town and at grocery stores, that is a rarity.

As your article also mentions Clarity, I happen to also own an 2019 3rd gen Insight and that car is rare. I don't see how that car will outsell the Clarity in CA. There are times I got weeks without seeing one. I feel I see just about as many Gen 1 Insights as Gen 3. I can't wait to get rid of that Insight though... It was a really bad choice and the worst of 5 Honda's I have owned.

Larry Meyer (not verified)    February 9, 2020 - 8:19PM

The problem with the Clarity sales is that you simply cannot find them to buy them and the dealers have not been able to get even one to be able to show or test drive here in Florida. I tried Google to see if I could buy a used one, and the cheapest that came back was $51,000 which is considerably over MSRP but then again, if there is no competition . I fail to see why Honda can't at least make sure the dealers have one to show - much less sell!!