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Report: Honda Will Not Produce Hybrid Version of New Accord

2 June 2007

Accordhybrid
Monthly US sales of the Accord Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

The Nikkei Sunday edition reported that Honda will not introduce a hybrid model of the new Accord when the sedan undergoes a full design change in the autumn for the North American market.

Honda will release gasoline-electric hybrid versions only of the Civic and of its new small hybrid model currently under development for 2009 (earlier post), according to the report.  Honda will equip mid-size and large vehicles such as the Accord with its new Tier 2 Bin 5 diesel engine. (The Accord is one of the demonstrator vehicles for the new diesel engine technology.) (Earlier post.)

Honda plans to promote the clean diesel engine it is developing as its key environmental technology, according to the report, differentiating itself from Toyota’s concentration on hybrid vehicles.

Honda began selling the Accord hybrid in North America in December 2004. Sales have been trending downward over the last two years. In May 2007, Honda sold 439 of the Accord hybrids—down 16% from May 2006, and accounting for only 1.4% of all Accord models sold in the month.

Honda ceased production of its first hybrid, the Insight, in September 2006. Introduced in December of 1999, the Insight was the first mass-produced hybrid sold in the US, beating the Toyota Prius to the North American market by a matter of months. (Earlier post.)

June 2, 2007 in Hybrids, Sales | Permalink | Comments (67) | TrackBack (0)

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disappointing.....with the more powerful electric motor from the Civic and the latest version of VTEC/VCM that they are promising, this could have been a big seller.

The fact of the matter is that it could have been the sportiest hybrid sedan made (yes, even moreso than the Lexus GS, in my opinion). All they had to do was offer a sport package with things like 17" rims, fog lights, etc. I think they are ignoring a potentially huge market segment. Nissan is attempting this with the Altima, but it's still half ass. I have no idea why I cannot get the same Xenon headlights, 17" rims, and fog lights offered on the V6. If I could, I would buy one tomorrow.

Yup.

And they are, instead, bringing a diesel that will get better mileage with a far less complicated drive train, that runs on renewable fuel that can be produced domestically and cheaply, if LiveFuels (http://www.livefuels.com/) or a competitor pans out, and that can be phased in incrementally with todays existing distribution system.

Hybrids might make people feel better about themselves, but they are not the answer. Pure-electric (if batteries come around) and/or algae-based biofuels are the way. Let's hope that the absurd ethanol crazy doesn't completely ruin the publics perception of biofuels.

Cheers,
prat

This is a good decision. It would have required a total rework to sell in the $30-$35K hybrid market.

The Accord Hybrid is very nice. It is also heavy and saves very little gas. The list price is high although what they sell for may be another matter.

So we were offered a plush, heavy, complex, sedan that was very quick but used FWD and handled so-so. What could go wrong?

I drove Accords for 17 years. But when I bought a car this year I never looked twice at the Hybrid Accord.

Their diesel developments and ideas look promising. In 2009 I may be buying again.

Hybrids might make people feel better about themselves, but they are not the answer. Pure-electric (if batteries come around) and/or algae-based biofuels are the way.

Bunk.

Hybrids might make people feel better about themselves, but they are not the answer. Pure-electric (if batteries come around) and/or algae-based biofuels are the way.

Double Bunk.

An improvement is an improvement. Using the the 2008 EPA estimates, the first generation Accord (mild) Hybrid improved V6 mileage from 18/26 to 24/32, while improving performance (most noticeably where you use it - low end). That is still better than the 4-cylinder Accord (21/31). Before you extremists start ranting about that not being good enough, think about it. You aren't going to get people who drive V6 sport sedans to just quit cold turkey and go to a Civic hybrid. However, if you can convince a lot of those people that they can get similar, sporty performance and save a good deal of gas, you might just have a pretty good sized market segment. Honda was almost there. Poor option packages and bad marketing are to blame.

The bottom line is that Honda already has the technology in their parts bin, so I cannot see how disbanding this achieves anything. They had the more powerful IMA from the Civic and an improved VTEC/VCM system coming out with this latest generation Accord, which would have assuredly improved those MPG numbers. They could have still pursued the diesel option in addition to this. The last time I looked, the Accord was a pretty high volume vehicle!

I do not know if hybrids are THE "answer", assuming we know the question in the first place, but they can help. It is clear that the Accord V6 hybrid is not selling very well. Maybe the Lexus high end V6 hybrids might, but this is a luxury niche market.

It is basically a marketing exercise. Find out if there are a group of people that would actually BUY an Accord V6 hybrid at the price before you even think about designing one.

This is pretty fundamental and people will say that of course they do this. If they did and I assume they did, they missed it by a mile and the marketing people should be looking for new jobs, if they can find them.

If you are going to tag a vehicle with the Hybrid name, it had better get pretty good mileage. Otherwise people who buy it are going to be disappointed and will express it to there friends and post it on the Internet.

Then you get sales results like you see on the graph.

Then you will have to stop making them.

Wonder if this will make Toyota N.America drop the new D4D engine into the Camry. Last I read on GCC, they had reduced emissions even further using D-CAT technology and particle filter.

Spec:
New T180 flagship model, exclusively powered by new 2.2-litre D-4D 180 engine
- 175bhp (177 DIN hp) and maximum 400Nm from 2,000rpm
- 46.3mpg (combined cycle), 161g/km carbon dioxide emissions
- 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds, top speed 137mph

Good option to have, hybrid for city dwellers, diesel for long commuters, seems like the market is opening up. Let's see what Honda do!

A real world 24/32 rating in a 250+ HP vehicle is pretty good mileage.....

I would like to have seen the new Accord coupe with a four cylinder hybrid trim level. Prius, Camry, Civic, Sentra, all four doors, same with the SUV hybrids. Don't through a BIG 2.4L in there, but give it more than just a 1.5L ya know. Don't price it over $30k and they might have had something I think.

Then again, while I think it would be successful I know it wouldn't break any sales records. I could see how a diesel accord could help do that. Plus I think people would be more willing to try a diesel if it came from Honda than compared to any of the big 3 or VW.

Hybrids might make people feel better about themselves, but they are not the answer
So WTF is the question???
and/or algae-based biofuels are the way.
This is so F*ing stupid! What are you going to do with your biofuel, use it for salad dressing. If you want to move around you'll have to burn it in a combustion engine. Combustion engines always work best at one steady-state condition. That's why the hybrid was invented.

Nothing can beat the good feeling of driving a full hybrid HEV like the Prius. At traffic stop and low speed, there is NO vibration and complete silence. No 4-cylinder car can do that, and a diesel engine will vibrate even more at idle than a gasoline engine, given the higher compression. The electricall AC and the associated automatic climate control gives gentle cool air without having to cycling back and forth making you too cold and too warm. No diesel will come close to the Prius AT-PZEV emission rating, having 80% less emission than a comparable car.

The HEV Prius has twice the overall mpg of a comparable vehicle (55mpg from my actual driving in comparison to a Honda Accord 4-cylinder at 27-28mpg). No diesel-powered Accord can double the mpg of a comparable hypothetical full hybrid version, may be 25% better or so.

It's not hard to make a full-hybrid version of the Accord. Use a 1.6kwh battery capable of ~28kw peak output, a 50kwh motor driving the wheels directly even at the rear axle, and a 1.6-1.8 L Civic engine at ~110hp rating coupled to a generator/starter having ~30kw. The engine will drive the front axle with a single stage planetary gear set giving it a two-speed capability. The very simple 1-gear stage transmission and the low-cost Civic engine will partially make up for the extra cost of the battery and motor/generator set. At low speed and coasting, the engine is declutched from the front axle, and the car is driven completely by the motor. At acceleration, the engine will be clutched to the front axle at low gear equivalent of 3rd gear or so, and at cruise, the engine is shifted to high gear, equivalent to 5th gear or so, where the engine will be lugged down to about ~1600 rpm to get the maximum economy. Mild to moderate acceleration will be boosted by the 50kw motor and higher acceleration will downshift the engine to 3rd gear while still receiving motor boost.

The above setup will avoid patent infringement of the Toyota HSD while giving comparable mpg and performance with perhaps higher demand from the battery than the Toyota set up. However, very durable A123 lithium battery will step up to the plate, having very high specific power and very high number of charge-discharging cycles.

In general, I think we're still going through the very early growing pains of our transition to much greener transportation. There will a lot of successes, a few failure (like the current Accord Hybrid), and a whole lot of experimentation. The fun is just getting under way.

I'm happy to see Honda go diesel in the new Accord. This car could be a major milestone in terms of re-educating US drivers about what a modern diesel can be, in addition to the benefits mentioned by others above.

Not all the automotive managers that are stupid and shortsighted work in Detroit...

T2B5 diesels are really still PRETTY DIRTY. They correspond to early '90s gasoline engine technology in emission levels. And the fuel supply for them will only continue to increase in price.

Modern gasoline engines including ALL the ones for sale in CA, and the 8 sisters, conform to T2B3 or better levels. It is easy to predict that no sooner will the auto makers offer T2B5 models; only to see CARB demanding a schedule to meet T2B3 or better, without much of a window, either.

CARB will do this for fear that these T2B5 diesels will degrade the currently achieved levels of air quality of the Californian auto fleet.

"the first generation Accord (mild) Hybrid improved V6 mileage from 18/26 to 24/32, while improving performance (most noticeably where you use it - low end). That is still better than the 4-cylinder Accord (21/31)."

The problem here is that if you want to save gas and money, the Accord sedan with 4 cyl and manual(26/34 mpg) can be had for a list price of $18,625. While the Hybrid (28/35 mpg) lists for $31,000. There is no way that you will save enough gas to make up for the $12,000 list price difference.

My mpg figures came from Edmunds.com.

At any rate I think that a Diesel Accord is great idea, and I might buy one to replace my 2002 V6 when the time comes in a few years.

Honda has discovered that no one wants to pay extra for a hybrid to save gas, they want to impress their neighbors and to do that, they have to have a hybrid only model. The insight was too small to be useful and salable in the American market. Their next hybrid will do better. And the diesel will give them talking points against MB and VW.

Simply put, Honda cannot compete with Toyota on hybrids. The Civic puts Honda's great engine experience to work but the electric part is not much better then GM's BAS hybrid system (Yes, I admit its better though).

With GM's dual mode system comming out Honda will be #3 in hybrids not #2. Honda just has not devoted the resources in this arena. While GM has squandered tons of goodwill and wasted huge sums of money on crap like hydrogen they still have put more good research and money into hybrids then Honda.

I hope this 2009 small hybrid is good because its going to be competing with the third gen Toyota Prius and maybe even a real electric offering from others. I like Honda but I am watching fall behind.

The problem here is that if you want to save gas and money, the Accord sedan with 4 cyl and manual(26/34 mpg) can be had for a list price of $18,625. While the Hybrid (28/35 mpg) lists for $31,000. There is no way that you will save enough gas to make up for the $12,000 list price difference.

Why don't you compare a Golf with a Corvette while you're at it.

Looks like I need to snap up an Accord Hybrid before they stop making them. Sweet ride.

Honda IMA not much better than GM's BAS...get real.

Like user "aba" I also hate it when people compare the bottom of the line no frills trim level with the top of the line fully loaded hybrid trim level. Why don't you compare apples to apples and get cars that are similarly equipped for crying out loud.

Bring on the diesel-electric car.

Diesel is already selling for about 20 cents less per gal in my area than regular, and 40 cents less than hi-test. Why? Has the switch begun at the refinery to extend more capacity to diesel with more cars coming on line in 2008 & 2009?

Welcome to the real world , when you have your cities choked
with diesel pollution , like we have here in europe, that twenty cents
a gallon difference is going to pale into insignificance!
Diesel is a killer , no matter how clean the car companies
tell you it is !

Before those who welcome diesels get too excited, they should stand near the exhaust pipe of any diesel in existence and try to breathe. Diesel particulates are a known carcinogen and the sooner we rid the world of that outdated technology, the better. All-electrics (BEVs or battery-electric vehicles) are the smartest option for the future. To those who think BEVs are little more than slow golf carts with no range, consider the EV-1 that GM killed off, the RAV-4 that Toyota killed, the current Commuter Cars Tango (like George Clooney drives, 0-60 in 4 sec.), and the expensive supercars like the AC Propulsion T-Zero, the Venturi Fetish, and the Tesla Motors Roadster (all of which will beat a Dodge Viper in the 1/4 mile).

This performance info is given especially for the muscle-car fans, who seem to be populating this site (they must not realize that this is the GREEN - not MEAN - Car Congress), because they won't consider any car that's not fast. They aren't interested in anything except raw performance and lots of showy options like 17" rims and fancy lights. They could care less about efficiency and its environmental benefits, unless, of course, the inefficiencies start to make a significant dent in their pocketbook. I leave the research on all these cars as an education project for the reader.

Many of us predicted the Accord Hybrid would fail the second it came out. So, no surprise here. On the other hand, the Camry Hybrid is successful since Toyota chose the better route-- mpg over performance with a 4 cyliner.

The marketing is really pretty simple and born out by sales figures. People who buy hybrid want mpg, not extra performance that sacrifices mpg. If they can have both fine, which might occur with the next gen Prius, at least one of the three models proposed.

Diesel may or may not be a successful entrant in the future U.S. market. But for now, the full hybrid is king and Toyota is setting new sales records. Even with the new EPA mileage figures, the Prius rules. With the next gen, the Prius will rule even better.

The point I am trying to make is that it did not have to be a failure, and they could have addressed this with the second generation Accord Hybrid.

How did the 700lb lighter Civic get a more powerful IMA than the Accord?

Does Honda expect people to pay low 30's for a car with those ugly 16" rims (I understand they were for low rolling resistance tires, but what does that add, a half mpg?)

If Toyota had stopped with the first-generation Prius, where do you think they would be now?

No one said they had to continue to use the V6 in the next-generation hybrid. The new 4-cylinder VTEC is rumored to be 180HP+. With a more powerful IMA, it could have seriously challenged the Camry and Altima hybrids....

This is expected.
1st - Toyota took 60 % of Accord's market with Camry-H
2nd - Nissan took 20 % of Accord's market with Altima-H.

So only 20 % of Accord's market remains.

There are many differences between Civic and Accord Hybrids.

Civic has V4 engine, CVT transmission, Cylinder shutdown during slowdown and Accord has V6 engine, 5-Speed trans and no Cylinder deactivation.

Honda wanted to sell this as a performance vehicle and those who wanted performance simply hated hybrids and so the product is in trouble.

Nothing is lost even now, Honda can put their IMA system in V4 Accord. As for Higlander and Rx400 hybrids selling more, they are crossovers which are the hottest segment.

Best thing is for Honda to put IMA in CR-V which is another fast growing product. CR-V is the #1 selling in SUV segment.

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