When AutoGuide shared a story Monday with the headline that the Honda S2000 is “definitely never coming back, Honda exec says,” it seemed like a bold and foolish move by Honda to shut the door completely on one of its most iconic cars. But Honda isn’t, and those ideas appear to have come out of nowhere.
The current market seems right for an enthusiast-centric car revival like the S2000, at least in America. A new Toyota Supra, which may or may not be called the “Supra,” is expected this year, the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt came around at the Detroit Auto Show, and the U.S. finally got both the Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus RS hot hatches.
But according to the AutoGuide story, Hayato Mori, senior manager of product planning for Honda Canada, told the website to forget it. AutoGuide reported that Mori said the S2000 was a car of the past, and that there will probably never be another version because of the current car (crossover) market in North America.
From the story, which didn’t quote Mori but summed up what he said as such:
People who buy crossovers are dominating the market, and small, convertible sports cars and roadsters are impossible for companies to make any money on because of their relative impracticality in the eyes of today’s buyer.
Mori reminded us that safety regulations make it very difficult for small sports cars to exist, and that’s probably another reason why we haven’t seen another generation of the Nissan 370Z yet — R&D simply costs too much money and the regulations for crash safety are too stringent. And that high cost is difficult to justify with such small sales numbers.
Jalopnik got into contact with a source at American Honda, who’s familiar with the company climate as well as current and future product plans but preferred not to be named. They told Jalopnik that because Honda Canada is such a small part of Honda overall, Mori doesn’t have much influence in the scope of future products for other areas like the U.S. market. While the above may be Mori’s opinion, the source said, he doesn’t speak for Honda’s U.S. division.
The source told Jalopnik that a lot of people at Honda push for a new S2000 and that it’s something the company continues to look at—just like the with Civic Type R, which finally materialized in the U.S. after a lot of calls for it to happen.
In response to that and whispers about a future S2000—very loosely rumored to come out this year as a celebration of Honda’s 70th anniversary, along with 320 horsepower and a twin-charged four-cylinder engine—a spokesperson from Honda’s North American division told Jalopnik to “never say never.”
“There are constantly, internally, proposals being made,” the spokesperson said. “That’s the source of all the rumors, because we’re a passionate company full of passionate people who are about cars, who are enthusiasts, and S2000 is an iconic and loved product and an important part of Honda’s legacy.
“As such, there are always proposals being made—maybe we could do this, or maybe we could do this. But as of now, there are no current plans for an actual introduction.”
While there aren’t any current plans, the spokesperson told Jalopnik “as long as there’s a Honda, there will be proposals being made.” If the proposals turn out anything like an American Civic Type R did, maybe we really will learn to never say never.