Honda Motor Co. introduced a new subcompact car, the Fit, in Japan on June 21, 2001.
The Fit, built on Honda's space-efficient global small platform, showcased some of the company's latest advances in automotive engineering.
The newly developed global small platform was the key technology around which the Fit was designed. Honda engineers placed the gasoline tank centrally on the platform -- a unique layout which, coupled with G-control technology, helped achieve enhanced crashworthiness. A shortened front end and more compact suspension system allowed the floor to be lowered, creating a large amount of cabin space for such a small vehicle.
The inclusion of dual door sills that shut out exterior noise and a variety of storage space helped create a more quiet, comfortable and spacious interior.
Introduced to the U.S. market at the Detroit Auto Show in Jan. 2006, the 2007 Fit hit showroom floors in April 2006 with a base price of $14,400, which included shipping.
"The Fit will appeal not only to entry-level consumers, but will also appeal more broadly to consumers looking for a fun, flexible and fuel-efficient small car that serves as an ultra-comfortable cargo mover," former executive vice president of American Honda Dick Colliver said upon the Fit's introduction.
On the day it was unveiled in Detroit, The New York Times called the Fit a result of Toyota's then-success with its now-defunct Scion brand: Honda hoped the Fit would play big with a younger audience.
"Given Toyota's success with its Scion youth brand, many companies are considering offering entry-level subcompacts. Also, as the Civic has moved upmarket, it made room for a new entry-level model that gives Honda a chance to seduce younger buyers," the Times said.
The 2007 Fit was equipped with a 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with 109 horsepower. The engine was matched up with a 5-speed manual or an optional 5-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimated 35.5 m.p.g. for the 2007 Fit. It was equipped with 15-inch tires, an inch larger than the standard.
U.S. sales peaked at 79,794 in 2008. The second-generation Fit went on sale in 2008.
The third-generation Fit was introduced in Japan in 2013 by then-Honda Motor Co. President Takanobu Ito who called it Honda's most important car even though it trailed in sales to the Civic, CR-V and Accord. The third-gen Fit hit U.S. showrooms in June 2014 as a 2015 model vehicle.