Honda of 2018 may be embracing their love of fast, sporty cars far more so than in their most recent preceding years, but that doesn’t mean fans will get everything they want. Sure, the world was able to embrace a sequel to the legendary NSX, meanwhile the Civic Type R has been treated to a comprehensive performance development program as well as global launch while also becoming the world’s fastest front-driven production car to lap the Nurburgring.
One outstanding Honda fan wish would likely be for the S2000 (which ceased production in 2009) to see a resurrection. This matter has been at the fore of many an enthusiast especially upon learning that Toyota has been drawing ever closer to resurrecting the Supra, a car that was more or less analogous to the Honda roadster at its height.
Much of speculation has ensued, but ultimately concluding that the waters remain murky at best. However, with some words from the Hayato Mori, Senior Manager of product planning for Honda Canada, and obtained from AutoGuide.com, it might seem that any hope for the S2000’s re-emergence has been categorically shut down.
According to Mori-san, internal talks within Honda’s various regional divisions have stalled with concern to any product roadmap that would incorporate a new S2000 - and he should know. Especially with the North American market, the demand for a small convertible sports car just isn’t high enough for the project to be green lit - a market that’s dominated by a crossovers and SUV-buying population - apparently.
In addition, the increased level of safety regulation that would be imposed on a new sports car, particularly one with the weight constraints of an S2000, mean that weaving through that maze while staying true to the original car’s philosophy will be both difficult and quite costly. This is also an inhibiting factor for Lotus’ expansion into the US and Canada.
The case for the Honda Civic Type R, in contrast, was far easier to make. Because the decision was made to have it available only as a 5-door, it could be marketed as serviceably versatile car as well as a high performance one. It might not be ideal but it could, theoretically, function as an everyday family hatch. An S2000, though, will only serve as a two-seat sports car, and one with without a fixed roof.
However, this argument, when broken down, doesn’t seem as strong as it does on first blush. The Toyota 86 was developed from the ground up to cater to roughly the same market that a hypothetical new S2000 would, and has seen some impressive sales numbers despite it being a two-door sports car with questionable merits on practicality.
Secondly, the Mazda MX-5, in its fourth-generation, remains one of the automaker’s strongest and most revered products, even in North America, living proof for the viability of a potential direct competitor. Honda, by comparison, has much deeper pockets and a more fervent brand following should they endeavour to realise a next-generation S2000. It’s still a definitely possibility, we’d reckon.