100 units sold in 240 seconds.
It was last February when the 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition was first revealed. Lighter and retuned specifically for improved track performance, only 600 units are being made available in the US. In Canada, this figure is reduced to just 100 examples and according to Automotive News Canada, all were sold out in only four minutes. Online sales began and ended on May 21. In March, Honda USA told CarBuzz US allocation hadn't been sold out yet and that since pricing wasn't available, "we haven't given the dealers the tools they need to take pre-orders." We've reached out to Honda for an update.
In the meantime, Honda Canada claims it fully expected all 100 Phoenix Yellow-painted units to go quickly though maybe not in only a matter of minutes.
"We expected demand for the vehicle to be high as the Civic Type R is a popular car with a strong and loyal fan base," said Steve Hui, assistant vice-president sales and marketing Honda Canada. "The fact that it is a Limited Edition with only a certain amount available added to this, but even we were pleasantly surprised at how quickly they pre-sold."
All the more impressive is that these future owners were required to pony up a $1,000 CAD deposit at a time when car buyers everywhere are economically concerned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like in the US, Canadian pricing for the Civic Type R Special Edition hasn't even been officially announced.
But Honda Canada figured demand and was going to be extremely high and prepared so in advance by building a dedicated online portal exclusively for the car. This was the first time the company has used this sales method in Canada and because of its success without any technical complications, future e-commerce solutions are going to be accelerated. Conveniently, the Civic Type R Special Edition sales portal experience offered an e-commerce trial run at a time when buyers are far more likely to purchase vehicles online.
"It continues to impress me that customers under the right circumstances are willing to commit sight unseen to vehicles and do so online," said Andrew Tai, whose company built the portal for Honda. "The consumer trends are always moving in this direction. We saw it all around us even pre-Covid. I think Covid accelerated the adoption of online purchasing experiences across demographics and automotive is not immune from that."
This does not, by any means, indicate the end of car dealerships, but the rapid Type R sales in Canada proved buyers are more than willing to throw down money for a vehicle whose final price has yet to be provided from the comfort of their homes.
But if Americans are truly serious about buying a Type R Limited Edition then Honda highly suggests to "let your dealer know soon if you want the chance to buy one." They told us this in March and, chances are, the situation has changed since.