Sun, Jul 16, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Honda unveils its upgraded Accord

TOUGH SELL:One analyst said that while the new model is expected to be an engineering success, it is unlikely to be a sales success due to falling demand for midsize cars

AP, DETROIT, Michigan

American Honda Motor Co automobile division senior vice president Jeff Conrad introduces the latest Honda Accord at the Garden Theater in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

The latest version of Honda Motor Co’s venerable Accord midsize car is lower, wider, lighter and sleeker than its predecessor, and the company says it is faster and handles better.

However, no matter how nice it looks, how well it drives or how big it is inside, it will be a tough sell with US buyers, who are migrating by the thousands from sedans to sport utility vehicles and trucks.

Honda is hoping the new Accord, due in showrooms in the fall, will reverse the car’s sales decline.

Through last month, sales fell 5.5 percent compared with last year as US buyers shun midsize cars in favor of sport utility vehicles.

Sales of all midsize cars combined were down nearly 18 percent in the first half of this year, and the midsize sedan’s share of the market has dropped from 16 percent five years ago to just less than 11 percent, Kelley Blue Book Co said.

Still, Honda last year sold more than 345,000 Accords.

The 10th generation of the Accord, unveiled on Friday, is to have Honda’s safety technology suite, which includes automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance, standard on all models.

All the improvements might make the car great, but they likely will not help sales much as the market shift continues, Kelley Blue Book executive market analyst Jack Nerad said.

“While we expect the new Accord to be a technological, design and engineering success, it’s unlikely to be the sales success that its predecessor was,” Nerad said.

Price, fuel economy and the exact sale date were not released.

A gas-electric hybrid version is also to be made available.

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