Deciding on Element was a lot less impressive than you might think
Although Honda’s discontinued the Honda Element for over ten years now, interest in this quirky, jack of all trades vehicle and its value in the used car market has only increased.
Prior to the Element in production form, in 2001 Honda dubbed its boxy, multi-functional prototype Model X.
But, have you ever wondered how Honda transformed Model X to “Element?”
Former Honda Brand Culture Champion Chares Schnieber was keen enough to share on multiple occasions the Honda Element’s name origin story.
Can you believe it was just a bunch of Honda employees with books sprawled out in the middle of a book store bouncing names off each other?
Check out his posts on the matter on Instagram below.
“Team members searched for hours through books at Barnes and Noble. Every reference book from Metallurgy to Animal Husbandry, Geology to Geography was consulted.”
“Finally someone said “hey we need to look at a periodic table of Elements.” My friend said uh, why not just Element? Ok, we’re done here! It was perfect. So basic, yet essential for one’s active lifestyle.”
That “someone” mentioned above turned out to be current Principal Designer to Honda R&D Margo Beylan.
According to Honda designer at the time John A. Frye,
Margo Beylen came up with that one (Element) but she had just given her list to the team and wasn’t at the “meeting.”
Just like the design of the Element itself, a handful working on the Element, namely the designers, did not like the name.
In a 2002 NY Times story they note,
…some things changed in translating the concept of the Model X into the reality of the Element — a name, by the way, that most of the designers dislike.
If you missed it, Honda’s naming team also considered calling the Model X “GearBox.” That would’ve been too on the nose for Honda.
Since the Element’s demise and with the resurgence of crossovers as the vehicle of choice over the sedan, Element faithful and former owners have wondered if Honda will ever bring back the Element.
The answer is unofficially no. No rumors or official word from Honda shows they’d ever bring back the Element, at least, in its quirky, early 2000s form.
For now, prices for used ones and loyalty for a faithful few, will all continue to climb.