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Although the iconic Honda S2000 roadster ended production after the 2008 model year, it left a lasting impression on sports car brand enthusiasts. In fact, final model year S2000s currently on the used market still fetch over $18,625 at retail, which equates to a value retention figure north of 54%. Knowing the roadster is able to hold such a significant percentage of its original value (which was $34,300), Honda has evidence supporting the argument its sports cars continue to be very much in high demand. With the long-lasting success of the S2000 in mind, the automaker has begun to get its groove back by means of its new, Japan-only S660 model. The market, however, is not reacting exactly how the company anticipated.

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Pictured from left to right: Honda Beat and Honda S500 roadsters.

After pulling the curtain off the S660 concept two years ago at the Tokyo Motor Show, buzz began to generate around the car, which shared cues with the preceding S2000, Beat, and S500 models. There was no telling if the Japanese brand would actually bring the roadster to market, but after announcing the vehicle’s production and subsequently taking orders in Japan, it became clear the automaker made the right choice: All 8,600 S660 production units slated for the first year sold out quickly. Additionally, the roadster’s production output forecast at Honda’s Suzuka Plant will increase by over 49% in the second year.

With such high demand for the $16,000 car, it will be interesting to see if Honda management considers offering a derivative of the S660 in other markets at some point. Even in 2017, when the 542,000 unit capacity plant is expected to hit 78.2% utilization, there would be enough room to increase production of the car if a great enough opportunity presents itself. The S660 is built off the same platform as the N-Box and the N-One, which means if the car is eventually offered overseas ― Europe being the likeliest candidate ― it is unlikely we would see the roadster’s dimensions get altered much, if at all. If anything were to change, however, it would probably be the engine size since the vehicle would no longer be restricted to Kei car regulations. As of right now, the thought of a S660 variant making its way to other markets is nothing more than a dream, but if Honda’s new roadster remains a hot seller, the automaker may be swayed into making that dream a reality.

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Pictured from left to right: Honda N-One and Honda N-Box Kei cars.

What’s noteworthy about the S660’s current success in Japan is that 80% of sales of the small 660cc three-cylinder mid-engine Kei car have come from customers above 40 years old, many of whom purchased the Honda sports car as a second vehicle. On a positive note, this result provides evidence that aficionados who fell for Honda’s innovative, sporty character years ago are still loyal to the brand after all this time. However, considering when the S2000 first arrived on the scene in 1999, only 20% of purchases came from those 40 years or older, Honda’s customer base appears to have changed drastically over the years. Unfortunately, with the Japanese automaker having largely abandoned the sports car segment for many years, younger buyers clearly feel less of a connection to the brand than older consumers.

Regardless of whether the S660 sells in the United States or not, Honda has an incentive to offer products that excite consumers more. The sales result of the S660 in Japan is an indication those who grew up admiring Honda sports cars many years ago still maintain a favorable image of the company today. Younger consumers, however, do not appear to share the same perception of Honda, which is why it should be in the interest of the automaker to take action and convert millennials into brand ambassadors. The new S660 might be Honda’s way of starting small as it builds toward something greater, but it remains the responsibility of the consumer to express a desire for more by means of action with one’s wallet.