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Honda may cut production of Accord hybrid

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Honda may cut production of Accord hybrid

Slow sales due to consumers being uncertain about fuel savings, exec says

Julie Jacobson / AP file

Updated: 2:20 p.m. ET April 13, 2006

NEW YORK - Honda Motor Co. may cut production of the Honda Accord hybrid because sales have been so slow, Honda Executive Vice President Dick Colliver said Thursday at the New York Auto Show.

Colliver was the second executive in as many days to question the direction of hybrid sales during media previews for the show, which opens to the public Friday. Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said Wednesday that hybrid sales appear to be slowing down, something he has warned could happen as consumers decide whether hybrids are worth their additional cost.

Colliver wouldn't give exact sales for the Accord hybrid, which went on sale in December 2004, but said they make up a tiny percentage of Honda's overall sales. Overall Accord sales were down 4 percent last year, according to Autodata Corp.

"We've had to reevaluate our position," Colliver said. "It's having a hard time in the market."

Colliver said a decision on the Accord will be made sometime this year.

Not all hybrids are suffering. The Honda Insight hybrid saw sales jump 15 percent last year, and Colliver said sales of the Honda Civic hybrid remain strong. The company expects to sell 25,000 hybrid Civics this year, or 8 percent of its total Civic volume.

Colliver said the problem with the Accord is that the hybrid system is paired with a V6 engine, compared to the smaller 4-cylinder engine in the Civic, and consumers aren't convinced it will offer them any fuel savings.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus luxury division is betting that consumers eventually will adopt so-called performance hybrids like the Accord, which give vehicles a bigger engine with better fuel economy and lower emissions.

The 2008 Lexus LS 600h, introduced at the New York show, is the first luxury vehicle to pair a powerful V-8 engine with a hybrid system. The combination gives the 600h the power of a 12-cylinder engine with the fuel efficiency of a smaller vehicle. Lexus said the sedan will have fuel economy ratings equal to or better than some mid-sized luxury sedans.

But Colliver said he's not convinced consumers will embrace performance hybrids.

"We're still looking at where's the best package for hybrids," Colliver said. "We're going to have to watch the market."

Jack Nerad, editorial director of Kelley Blue Book, an auto information service, said he also expects consumers will be slow to adopt performance hybrids because they think of hybrids only as fuel savers.

"The general public doesn't grasp there is such a thing as a performance hybrid," Nerad said.

Hybrids made up 1.5 percent of new-car sales last year, up slightly from the year before, even though there were new models on the market, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12303373/from/RS.3/

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I guess people are realizing the Accord Hybrid is fairly useless. It's a minimal power increase with a minimal fuel economy increase for a large increase in price.

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Guest Josh

The Saturn VUE Hybrid will clean the rugs with these others. It's less than $2k more and will sticker for under $23k in base price?

It's going to do very, very well in the market.

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The Saturn VUE Hybrid will clean the rugs with these others. It's less than $2k more and will sticker for under $23k in base price?

It's going to do very, very well in the market.

Well, GM needs a midsize hybrid sedan as soon as they can get it out.

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The Vue is a nice start, a good vehicle to test the program out on. If it works, it needs to be expanded quickly. Cobalt, Impala, Aura would be good candidates, as well as the GMT900 SUVs, which are getting something like this, right?

The Accord Hybrid mileage does not warrant the extra performance. This may be the same for all "performance hybrids," I guess we'll see. Hybrid sales are still going to be strong. The Civic and Prius still have waiting lists, the Vue will be flying off lots and I bet the Camry will have a waiting list, too.

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The Vue is a nice start, a good vehicle to test the program out on.  If it works, it needs to be expanded quickly.  Cobalt, Impala, Aura would be good candidates, as well as the GMT900 SUVs, which are getting something like this, right?

The Aura and Malibu are both scheduled to get the same system as the VUE. The is scheduled for March '07 and the Malibu August '07 (next-gen model). This is from an old document I have, but they should be accurate within a couple months at least.

The VUE, Aura, and Malibu are both "mild hybrids," while the GMT900s are true hybrids (they have a two-mode full hybrid system).

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The Aura and Malibu are both scheduled to get the same system as the VUE. The is scheduled for March '07 and the Malibu August '07 (next-gen model). This is from an old document I have, but they should be accurate within a couple months at least.

The VUE, Aura, and Malibu are both "mild hybrids," while the GMT900s are true hybrids (they have a two-mode full hybrid system).

Thanks for the information. I think the Vue Greenline is more of a hybrid than the Accord Hybrid and they are both mild.

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The Accord hybrid should use a 4 cylinder instead of a V6 to maximize fuel efficiency. Let Acura have the high performance hybrids.

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If! and a big if! GM wakes up and prices the hybrid vehicles right. . . this is a great way to get out of this media backlash. The Accord has a nice hybrid system but who ever thought about putting those rims on that car. . . well hopefully no longer works there.

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The Accord hybrid won't move anywhere once the Camry hybrid is on sale.

I see it moving to the same people it moves to now. The Camry hybrid doesn't really compete because the Camry hybrid is not geared towards performance at all. The Accord hybrid is basically for people who want to feel like they're doing something good because they're driving a hybrid and also would like a little extra power.

BUT, everyone (which I think is very few) who bought the Accord hybrid for fuel economy will certainly buy the Camry hybrid instead (or Aura or Altima when they come).

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I see it moving to the same people it moves to now. The Camry hybrid doesn't really compete because the Camry hybrid is not geared towards performance at all. The Accord hybrid is basically for people who want to feel like they're doing something good because they're driving a hybrid and also would like a little extra power.

BUT, everyone (which I think is very few) who bought the Accord hybrid for fuel economy will certainly buy the Camry hybrid instead (or Aura or Altima when they come).

And it's not like the Camry hybrid is slow. In fact, its 0-60 is quicker than the Malibu V-6's.

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And it's not like the Camry hybrid is slow. In fact, its 0-60 is quicker than the Malibu V-6's.

The only sort of official rating I could find for 0-60 was 8.9 from www.familycar.com (who claims that's what Toyota rated it at). I also saw some 7.9s numbers posted by users, and 7.3s posted somewhere on this forum, but I couldn't find anything to back those up. With most of the extra TQ from the electric motor coming at low rpms, and only 189hp peak, I don't think the powerplant could move that heavy thing to 0-60 any faster than 8.9s. Btw, Car and Driver rated the Fit at 8.7s 0-60.

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The cost effectiveness of hybrids remains undetermined. At this moment true economical fuel savings will come from improvements to the internal combustion engine such as Direct Injection & Continously Variable Displacement.

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This was to be expected. People that want a hybrid, want to tell the world they are driving a hybrid.

They do not want a badge on the rear bumper, they want the car to look like a hybrid.

That is why the Prius is a success and the Hondas, Fords and the rest will go thud in the market.

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The only sort of official rating I could find for 0-60 was 8.9 from www.familycar.com (who claims that's what Toyota rated it at). I also saw some 7.9s numbers posted by users, and 7.3s posted somewhere on this forum, but I couldn't find anything to back those up. With most of the extra TQ from the electric motor coming at low rpms, and only 189hp peak, I don't think the powerplant could move that heavy thing to 0-60 any faster than 8.9s. Btw, Car and Driver rated the Fit at 8.7s 0-60.

Road & Track, in the current issue, got a Camry Hybrid from 0-60 in 7.3secs.

R&T is usually pretty accurate with their acceleration numbers so I'd probably be more inclined to believe that figure.

They haven't tested a Malibu, but C&D got 0-60 in 7.9secs with an LT 3.5L......and 6.9secs with a recent Malibu Maxx SS......

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Road & Track, in the current issue, got a Camry Hybrid from 0-60 in 7.3secs.

R&T is usually pretty accurate with their acceleration numbers so I'd probably be more inclined to believe that figure.

They haven't tested a Malibu, but C&D got 0-60 in 7.9secs with an LT 3.5L......and 6.9secs with a recent Malibu Maxx SS......

That's a pretty huge margin, I wonder where the 8.9s really came from.

Edit: Btw, here is where I got that from.

We also had a chance to drive the Hybrid on the race track.  With 192 horsepower on tap from the combination gasoline motor and electric motor, acceleration was more than adequate for daily driving with Toyota claiming a 0-60 acceleration time of 8.9 seconds.

The drivers at Toyota must just suck if Road and Track can slaughter them in their own car :duh:

Edited by siegen

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The drivers at Toyota must just suck if Road and Track can slaughter them in their own car  :duh:

No, like their MPG and horsepower figures, they're just really conservative. :blink:

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I never understood why Honda paired the Hybrid with the V6 in the Accord, that was a dumb move.

It was a dumb move because you don't understand it?

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Or perhaps it was a "dumb move" because it is a dud in the market?

"Hybrid" was established (marketing-wise) as a economy feature, and only in the past few years. Marketing a "performance hybrid" while the 'economy' concept is still gelling is an attempt to slide in on the "hybrid" good press coattails, confusing the issue for consumers. The marketing needs to be straightened out; I would not choose to label a 'performance' model as also being a hybrid, regardless if it is.

I agree with evok that having a 'hybrid look' is also instrumental, at least for now.

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right now, the ecoweenies have everyone focused on hybrids being for economy.

i think its odd that anyone would market performance hybrids right now. once hybrids become common, sure. but anyone selling hybrids right now would get a lot more bang for their buck right now if they made more cars like the new camry hybrid......good everyday performance and good mpg.

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The misinformation and guess work about hybrids is amazing. It is so easy to run a test to verify the reality, but who has actually tried?

This is the best I have seen so far:

http://www.drivingtelevision.com/segmentvi...e=312&segment=2

They follow a course of ~200KM of mixed driving around Vancouver. They attempt to go from the suburbs into downtown Vancouver and back, but the bridge to go downtown is closed so they never make it right downtown.

4cyl Accord Auto 12.0L/100KM

Escape 4Cyl Auto 10.7L/100KM

Hybrid Accord 9.1L/100KM

4cyl Camry Auto 8.9L/100KM

Hybrid Escape CVT 7.5L/100KM

VW Jetta TDI Turbo Diesel, Manual 6.8L/100KM

Prius 5.2L/100KM (54MPG)

Note that the V6 Accord Hybrid uses about the same amount of fuel as a 4cyl accord.

Accord Hybrid sales aren't doing well (down about 50% YTD, YOY), but it is an interesting proposition to get 4cyl Camry fuel economy with V6+ performance.

I have a 2004 TL 6SPD, and it sounds like I drive in similar conditions to this test, and I average 11.32 L/100KM. I get ~25% worse fuel economy and only marginally more performance (the accord hybrid would likely be faster than the TL if it had a standard).

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