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Honda's pitch: She's pretty in pink

By Alex Zolbert, CNN
November 27, 2012 -- Updated 1958 GMT (0358 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Honda releases new model of Honda Fit: 'She's'
  • It has pink stitching in seats, windshield that blocks ultraviolet rays
  • Marketing of a car to women was tried in the 1950s
  • In 2000, Ford teamed with Maytag to pitch minivan with washing machine, microwave

Tokyo (CNN) -- Japanese car makers are grappling with sluggish demand at home and abroad as well as a strong yen.

So perhaps it's not a big surprise that one corporate titan is now trying an age-old marketing ploy aimed at female drivers.

Honda has released a new model of the Honda Fit, interestingly named "She's."

Some of it might sound like an idea straight from the 1950s -- a car made for women -- complete with numerous pink features, as well as a windshield and air conditioning that claims to help a woman's sensitive skin.

In fact, the idea of marketing a car to women was tried in the 1950s.

Dodge's La Femme featured space for a woman's lipstick and purse. It too came in pink -- but faded fast, lasting only from 1955 to 1956.

Back in 2000, Ford teamed up with Maytag, pitching a minivan complete with a washing machine and microwave.

The "soccer moms" never put it to the test though, as the Windstar Solutions never cruised past the concept stage.

"She's" sticking to a fairly predictable road with pink stitching in the seats, pink tweaks in the dashboard and a windshield that the company says blocks more ultraviolet rays.

Honda also adds, the "plasma cluster" air conditioning helps prevent dry skin.

(When we asked about the perhaps more grammatically correct 'Hers,' we were told that the former apparently sounded better.)

If you don't care for pink, there's white or brown as well.

And when we asked if a Honda executive really did tell a Japanese newspaper that the colors are meant to "match a woman's eye shadow," we're told yes -- with no tinge of regret that some women might find such a comment offensive.

We also posed the question to She's designer: Essentially, was she concerned about offending some women with such a product?

We were told people have different tastes. And in Japan, there is also a strong culture of all things cute -- or "kawaii."

They are not wrong.

Kawaii is the one word we heard nearly every time we showed the car's brochure to women on the streets of Tokyo.

But of course what is more crucial to any car's success are its sales.

And when it comes to that, Honda without giving a precise number says so far "She's" exceeding their expectations.

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