Just a few months after Honda began selling the S660 in Japan, the company has managed to sell off all 8,600 of its S660 roadsters slated for production this year and is fully booked through June.
However, a shocking revelation shows that four in five buyers of the sports car are over 40-years old. While the S660 might appear as a sporty car that would appeal to the young generation, it seems to attract much older demographic than other models in the lineup. Most of these customers are longtime Honda fans and purchase the coupe as a second car, according to Misato Fukushima, a company spokeswoman.
It’s also a contrast to the last sports car Honda introduced in 1999, the S2000. Back then, only one in five buyers were over 40 years of age.
Apparently, the stagnating annual incomes and an efficient public transportation system means many younger people in Japan don’t see a need to own a car. The number of drivers license holders under the age of 40 has fallen 46% over the last 13 years.
“It will be a big challenge for Honda to lure younger buyers,” said Yoshiaki Kawano, an analyst at IHS Automotive. “If you compare the demographic feature and average income with 20 years ago, I would say the motivation for young people to buy such a car could be quite limited.”
With the S660, Honda is betting that its risk-taking — the car is designed by a prodigy in his 20s with no engineering experience — will revive its image as a maverick among the major carmakers, a producer of interesting cars rather than just mass-market compact models. While it continues to be popular among older customers, the company believes the proportion of young buyers will rise gradually.
So far, demand for the S660 has been rising and Honda plans to restart taking orders from October this year.