I read your April 21 article on Honda's difficulty attracting younger buyers with the Element, which was originally intended for the so-called Generation Y set, and I can't believe that Honda's product development and marketing people are from the same planet that I am.
All they had to do was look at the Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Toyota Matrix to see that those cars would not appeal to the younger set no matter how they marketed them. Gray hair seems to be a requirement for driving those vehicles, and the Element seems to be following suit.
All three are hopped-up station wagons based on pedestrian subcompact sedan underpinnings (Neon, Corolla and Civic), but with a lot more room and practicality. And each one has a slightly different take on design: retro with the PT Cruiser; futuristic with the Matrix; and butch, military-inspired style with the Element.
Why does Honda think a 16-year-old is going to buy an Element? My 17-year-old neighbor has been through two cars so far in his first year with a license: a 1988 Chevrolet Cavalier and a 1989 Honda Civic. He can barely scrape together $16 let alone $16,000.
Personally, I love the design and practicality of the Element, but I don't own a kayak, snowboard or mountain bike; and I am not under 30.
The Element is a good product with comical marketing, a path this industry has taken before. At least we should be happy it is the product that outscores the marketing this time.