Honda’s retooled Accord charges into slumping sedan market

on Jul15

DETROIT — Honda Motor Co. on Friday will unveil its newest-generation Accord, one of four re-engineered midsize sedans that Asian automakers are betting on to win market share as Detroit automakers shift focus to SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks. 

The latest Accord, like rival Toyota Motor Corp.’s revamped Camry launching this month, is expected to offer major improvements in fuel economy, technology, styling and safety, according to Honda’s U.S. dealers.

The disguised 2018 Accord in an image released by Honda in May. Photo credit: HONDA

The 10th-generation Accord will be offered with two new direct-injected and turbocharged engines paired with Honda’s new 10-speed automatic transmission, a continuously variable transmission or a six-speed manual transmission depending upon the engine. The optional V-6 engine has been dropped for 2018.

Honda’s latest two-motor hybrid powertrain technology also will be available.

Honda, which released a teaser photo of the vehicle last month, declined to discuss details ahead of Friday’s event in Detroit.

The Accord and Camry are pillars of their manufacturers’ U.S. businesses, each selling well over 300,000 vehicles a year. In the coming months, Nissan Motor Co. is expected to launch a new Altima midsize sedan, and Hyundai Motor Co. will launch a freshened Sonata midsize car. Both are popular marques that will be promoted heavily.

“There has been no new news on the midsize sedan side for three years and we think this is a great opportunity to bring attention back to the segment,” said Jack Hollis, Toyota’s head of marketing for North America.

Year to date, U.S. passenger car sales are down 11.4 percent and sales of midsize sedans are down 14.2 percent. Still, Americans bought 7.1 million sedans in 2016. With General Motors and Ford Motor Co. cutting sedan production, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles abandoning the segment, Honda and its Asian rivals could boost sales with updated models, dealers said. 

“They could take share from other brands, which is traditionally what happens when a new product is launched,” said Pete DeLongchamps, vice president for manufacturer relations at Group 1 Automotive Inc., the third-largest U.S. auto dealer group.

‘Not finding a place’

The Accord for years was Honda’s top-selling model in the United States. Within the past year, U.S. sales of the Honda CR-V compact utility vehicle have eclipsed the aging Accord as Honda has expanded production capacity for the former. 

Passenger car sales have steadily declined since 2012 when they made up 51.2 percent of the U.S. market. Sedans have sagged to a 38.1 percent share in the first half of this year. IHS Markit said U.S. consumer loyalty to SUVs and pickup trucks has risen since 2012, but declined for sedans. (For a graphic, click here).

The new Accord and Camry “may stem the decline,” said IHS Markit’s Tom Libby. “I don’t think they will cause a marked reverse.”

Improvements to the Accord should boost sales at Galpin Honda in San Fernando, Calif., general manager Ed Hartoonian said. The dealership sells about 500 Accords and Civics, combined, per month and Accord sales are up nearly 13 percent so far this year, he said.

“As a dealer we can’t ask for much more.”

Automotive News contributed to this report.

Previous postSnapchat shares downgraded for a second time during rough week for recent IPO Next postSoviet Army intelligence veteran attended meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Los Angeles Financial times

Copyright © 2020 Los Angeles Financial times

Updates via RSS
or Email