My girlfriend is waiting for her 2005 red 5-speed Insight. It was originally supposed to be shipped in early February, but Honda painted all of the first-run 2005s silver because of a paint surplus (this is according to our dealer). Now that I've heard that the first red 2005 5-speeds are here (thanks, Billy!), one should be in Texas for her in a few days. I've already bought her a high-end Pioneer stereo and Infinity speakers to install in it (Xmas gift, heh).
As for Insight shipping: because it's a rare model and built partially by hand in the same factory as the S2000 and the Acura NS-X, release dates aren't the same. New-year models from that factory usually get to these shores in late January or early February (I know this because a friend of mine used to sell Acuras and was an NS-X freak).
Hi Viffer; yeah, for the past 3 model years, Insight production has begun in the month of December or January, and only continued through March. 2005 is the first year the car has been built at the brand new "low volume car production line" in Suzuka, rather than the plant in Tochigi. Other cars sharing the same assembly line are the S2000 and the Acura NSX. Billy.......
So Honda shifted their entire low-volume operation from Tochigi to Suzuka last fall? I had no idea. Eeeenteresting. Suzuka is where Honda's motorcycling arm does most of its R&D. Sounds to me like they're consolidating a bit.
That also makes me a bit nervous about 2005 Insights; a new plant, with a somewhat new workforce, is a bad situation to have for initial build quality, especially in a lame-duck model. Eeek.
For US automakers, I think you would have a good point. This is just my own opinion, but I think this case in Japan is different. First, Suzuka builds thousands of Civics and Accords for local consumption. The quality control in Japanese manufacturing in general, and Honda in specific, is known worldwide to be superb. I've had 3 new Insights, and I inspected this 2005 carefully, in full sunlight. Only time will tell in driving experience, but I CAN say the finish, fit, and workmanship appears dead-on perfect. I am favorably impressed. Billy........