• Bloomberg

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Honda Motor Co. will end production of its Insight model, the first hybrid vehicle introduced in the U.S., after demand plunged and sales lagged behind Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius.

Honda informed dealers in November that the current generation of the Insight will be discontinued in February and asked them to stop taking orders, Yuka Abe, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman for the carmaker, said Wednesday. She declined comment on whether there will be a new version of the model.

The Insight was the first hybrid vehicle in the U.S. market when Honda introduced it in 1999, seven months earlier than the Prius. The Toyota hybrid went on to become the best-selling dual-powered car of all time, with cumulative sales of 3.19 million vehicles as of January, according to the company.

By comparison, Honda delivered a cumulative 280,629 vehicles of the Insight globally as of the end of last year, of which 157,275 were sold in Japan. U.S. sales of the model fell 18 percent to 4,802 last year, making it the second-worst selling car in the Honda brand lineup, behind only the CR-Z hybrid, researcher Autodata Corp. said.

Honda began February with 237 days worth of supply of the Insight, according to Automotive News Data Center, almost four times the 60-day inventory that automakers generally consider to be ideal in the U.S. market.

The automaker stopped production of the first-generation Insight in 2006, before reviving it in 2009. Honda has five hybrid models in its lineup, including the Accord sedan and the Fit compact.

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