American Honda Motor Co. Inc. pulls the plug on the Honda Element, a cross/utility vehicle that garnered much attention for its unorthodox styling when it launched in late 2002 as an ’03 model.

The auto maker in a statement says the Element was cancelled because “utility-seeking customers have more recently embraced other vehicles in the Honda lineup, like the versatile and comfortable CR-V.”

However, lackluster sales likely played a role in Honda’s decision to discontinue the nameplate.

Deliveries have declined steadily since the Element’s first full year on the market in 2003, when Honda sold 67,478 units in the U.S. Through November, Element sales were off 3.7% from year-ago to 12,950 units, according to Ward’s data.

More than 325,000 Elements have been sold in the U.S. since its introduction.

“The Element proved that ultimate functionality can often come from thinking inside the box” John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, says in a statement. “It made boxy vehicle designs cool, and Element owners continue to enjoy its unique styling and unmatched versatility”

Although Honda long maintained the Element was an integral part of its U.S. lineup, the boxy CUV was never refreshed, unusual for the auto maker, which historically has maintained a 4- to 6-year product cycle.

When asked in late 2008 why the model had not been updated, Mendel told Ward’s the CUV “continues to plug along (and) has a very loyal following.”

The Element is built in Honda’s Liberty, OH, plant alongside the Honda CR-V and Accord Crosstour CUVs.