Daily Slideshow: So Why Was the S2000 Discontinued Anyway?

The Honda S2000 was very well regarded by enthusiasts and the motoring press, right up until being discontinued in 2009. Even today it has a loyal following on the used market. Where did things go wrong?

By Tony Greene - July 4, 2018
So Why Was the S2000 Discontinued Anyway?
So Why Was the S2000 Discontinued Anyway?
So Why Was the S2000 Discontinued Anyway?
So Why Was the S2000 Discontinued Anyway?
So Why Was the S2000 Discontinued Anyway?
So Why Was the S2000 Discontinued Anyway?
So Why Was the S2000 Discontinued Anyway?

Sports Cars are Niche Products

The global economic recession had monumental effects on car sales, which infamously resulted in the 2008 auto bailout from the US government. Recessions typically have a way of steering consumers away from less practical purchases like sports cars. Honda wisely opted or safer investments, however, now that the economy has picked up, could be time for the S2000 to make a bold new return? 

The Great Recession

The global economic recession had monumental effects on car sales, which infamously resulted in the 2008 auto bailout from the US government. Recessions typically have a way of steering consumers away from less practical purchases like sports cars. Honda wisely opted or safer investments, however, now that the economy has picked up, could be time for the S2000 to make a bold new return? 


>>Join the conversation about Reasons Why the S2000 Was Discontinued right here in the S2ki Forum!

Redesign Alienated Some Fans

At one point, the S2000 was the only widely available vehicle in North America to redline at 9000 rpm. This attracted tech-heads who were amazed by the amount of power from this little motor and enjoyed working to exploit it. However, various changes in 2004 softened both the suspension and engine. While these changes were understandable and designed to make the car more attractive to a wider audience, there are fans today who will only drive the earlier AP1 models. 


>>Join the conversation about Reasons Why the S2000 Was Discontinued right here in the S2ki Forum!

Cheaper Alternatives

Sports cars aren't typically cheap, and the S2000 was no exception, however, the S2000 was priced significantly higher than the Mazda Miata, its chief competition. While many experts would agree the S2000 is generally more impressive than the Mazda, the technical differences aren't enough to sway a budget-conscious consumer. Perhaps Honda ought to have offered a more competitive base model at a price that would help keep more expensive, more sharply focused S2000 roadsters profitable. 


>>Join the conversation about Reasons Why the S2000 Was Discontinued right here in the S2ki Forum!

Poor Fuel Economy

Sports cars are designed for aesthetics, performance, and power rather than thrift, but buyers do take that into account. When you are shopping for a sporty car and a Honda Civic SI on the same lot gets 15 more MPG in the city, and 17 better on the highway, it is easy to accept the slightly lower performance. The S2000 got fuel economy similar (or worse) to what a Chevy Camaro or Ford Mustang with a V6 got. This became increasingly weighed against the car as gas prices skyrocketed during the 2000s. Honda would need to take a page from Ford and Chevy, and offer a lower spec car for the masses tuned for better economy and cruising with the top down.  


>>Join the conversation about Reasons Why the S2000 Was Discontinued right here in the S2ki Forum!

No Automatic Transmission

More than anything else, the lack of an automatic transmission hurt S2000 sales. Manual transmission take rates for all cars in the United States in 2015 was less than 10%, and more than 51% of all Mazda Miatas sold are automatics. If Honda wants to sell an affordable sports car, they will have to share powerplants with other Honda cars, and offer an automatic, in order to achieve economies of scale.  


>>Join the conversation about Reasons Why the S2000 Was Discontinued right here in the S2ki Forum!

The Return of the S2000?

2019 will mark 20 years since the first line of S2000 was unleashed and it has been strongly rumored that Honda will be releasing a new line of S2000s to commemorate this, and their 70th anniversary. The economy has picked up sufficiently to make sporting vehicles like the S2000 a more tempting investment, and car sales are up in all segments all over the world. Hopefully, Honda can make a business case for it, as there would be no better car than an updated S2000 to drive into the future with.

Check out the 5 Reasons Honda Needs a New S2000 right here in the forum. 

>>Join the conversation about Reasons Why the S2000 Was Discontinued right here in the S2ki Forum!

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