|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.)