You may come across a used Honda jet ski and wonder if it’s worth it to buy. You also might be wondering why is there no current year model Honda’s.
What happened to Honda watercraft? Let’s talk about it.
What Happened To Honda Watercraft?
As of 2010, there are no new Honda jet skis you can buy, only used ones.
For a while, there was a time when there were many jet ski manufacturers – you had Honda, Tigershark, Polaris, Sea-Doo, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and many more. But today you only have Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki left making new watercraft.
Even though Honda made an excellent jet ski that was reliable, their timing was all wrong.
Honda got in a little too late to the market, and what killed them was the recession of 2008/2009. Honda stopped making watercraft in 2009, and the future models were called off.
When Honda got out of the market, it made it hard for dealers that had new inventory to sell them. I’ve heard many dealers not selling their last 2009 Honda PWCs until 2014. It was a tough time, especially for the dealers. So don’t be surprised to come across some fairly “new looking” Honda watercraft with low hours on them. I even know of some owners abandoning them – there are some good deals out there.
Where Honda Went Wrong
While the timing was all wrong in getting into the jet ski world, I would say it wasn’t the real reason for Honda to step away. If you ask me, the biggest reason they failed was the lack of innovation.
I cannot blame Honda for not innovating. In fact, the most significant selling point of what Honda sells are simple, reliable, and honestly boring products that just work. This strategy works perfectly if you’re selling cars or lawnmowers (they stopped making gas powered mowers too), but not so well in the jet ski world.
The only way you survive in the jet ski market is innovation. These are toys above all else, and if your toy is not doing something cool, then why are you here?
When Honda was stepping out in 2009, Sea-Doo was releasing radically new tech like braking (iBR).
This is why Sea-Doo dominates the market, as they are continually innovating and doing new things. Yamaha is also following suit and has come out with their own braking system called RIDE. Kawasaki also now has a brake.
Another point was that Honda only sold their watercraft in 4 countries and only a few select dealerships. Honda got in their own way.
Are Honda Jet Skis Worth It?
This brings us to our next point; are Honda jet skis worth it?
Yes and No.
It is true that I would consider the Honda watercraft a reliable PWC, but that factor gets diminished the further we get away from 2009. 2009 was the last year for Honda watercraft, and the further we get away from that, the harder it is to get parts for them.
If you don’t mind working on your own machines, then go for a Honda, you’re going to love it.
You might find it harder to resell it because parts are hard to find for them. Just ask the many dealers that had a hard time selling brand-new ones in the crates, years after Honda stopped selling them.
It was a shame that Honda got out, and I’m certain if they stuck it out they could have come back stronger. Honda could have made some cool stuff in the later years.
If you’re thinking about getting a used Honda jet ski, I recommend checking out my used jet ski guide here. I tell you what you should look out for and many other tips.
Will Honda Jet Skis Come Back?
It looks like they won’t. Many people say they burned too many bridges, so if they do come back, it won’t be like it was before, nor should it be.
There have been many rumors about Honda having prototypes with brakes and everything. Some rumors saying that Honda was really thinking hard about coming back in 2020 when watercraft were selling like crazy.
As of today, there is no new Honda watercraft for sale and may never be again.
If Honda were to come back, they would need to go more towards the cheaper lineup like the Spark and EX models. In fact, the most prominent reason why jet skis have come back around is the innovation of the Spark. The craziest thing Honda can do is make a racing model, but come out with a Rec-Lite model, and you’ll have people begging to have it.
If Honda is reading this, please consider coming back. The market can always use more competition, and you make good products.
As for what options you have today, here is the latest 2024 Sea-Doo vs. Yamaha vs. Kawasaki.