For Honda, Next Accord Must be a Hit

Posted on 27. Apr, 2012 by in Auto News

Randy LeBlanc has a Honda Accord in for more than 20 years of family ownership. A 41-year-old real estate agent in New Orleans' suburbs, LeBlanc bought his first Accord, a used 1988 model, in the early 1990 years. He replaced it with a brand new Accord in 2001. Some 125,000 miles later, LeBlanc and his wife are looking for a different car.

LeBlanc says he's 90 percent sure that it not be a Honda.

He has Toyota, Hyundai and Kia shopped lately, and when I spoke to him last week he was leaning to Toyota. LeBlanc says Honda requires moving to diverse options to get features like Bluetooth, and the Accord is too loud.

Noise "is a knock at Honda for how many years now," LeBlanc asks. "It does not seem to be an issue of them. I do not expect it to be different [in the future]."

Honda rolled standard Bluetooth for some newer models such as the redesigned CR-V. And every car with six numbers on the clock – still not as a library on the highway – as LeBlanc's '01 Accord. But he has a point. A four-cylinder Accord EX placed fifth of eight in Cars.com 's $ 25,000 Family Sedan Shootout two years ago, with street noise a recurring complaint. Even today's Accord requires more on the leather-clad EX-L trim for Bluetooth.

Sun LeBlanc is likely to jump ship. He is not the only one of the thousands of shoppers decide competitors about the Accord, once a must-drive family car for every purchase.

Experts point to a number of reasons for that. Inventory shortages after Japan quake-hit sales by the end of 2011. But the problems go beyond inventory. The position of the tip of the Accord family sedan segment – in a perpetual rivalry with the Toyota Camry – could move if Honda is not in the charts on the right track.

A redesigned 2013 Accord hits dealers this fall. It remains under wraps, but Honda guessed in January with the Accord Coupe concept. The redesign will be smaller and lighter, says Honda, with a variety of crash-avoidance technology and repression of the Accord Hybrid. The competition is fiercer than ever. Honda needs. For lost ground in many areas to the owners how to keep LeBlanc and a few new
Falling sales
The Camry has the family car segment since 2001, when the Accord beat last heard it. Honda strung together nine years at No. 2, but then crippled by low stocks after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 slipped the Accord No. 3, defeated by the Camry and Nissan Altima. To sort out, it took until the beginning of December for Honda inventory issues.
But sales continued to decline. The automaker dropped upwards of $ 1,000 in cash dealer atop financing offers interest in the 5-year-old car to keep, but the competition intensified to match its appeal. JD Power and Associates data show nearly a quarter of Accord buyers cross-shop The Camry, about a fifth shop the Altima. A redesigned Camry car dealerships steamed October last year, and in the spring, Nissan had thrown up to $ 2,250 on the aging Altima hood. It worked: Sales to March boomed 39% to 37% on the Altima and Camry. During the same period, the Accord fell 8%.

In other words, one in every 6.7 family cars sold a year ago was an Accord. Today is about a dropped in 10. The Accord is not in second place more. It is the fourth slipped and fell behind the Ford Fusion, which are also new this year.

Accord share of family cars
Year