The new Honda Accord has been lauded by the automotive press for its design, improved ride and interior, and noticeable increases in fuel economy. In fact, the Accord has been named North American Car of the Year. But dealers are struggling to move the new Accord off lots.
In February, sales of the Accord dropped 15.8 percent when compared to the year before. According to Automotive News, inventory levels of the Accord stood at a 104-day supply at the beginning of this month - very high by Honda's sparse count. Some dealers have been turning away shipments from the Marysville, Ohio plant.
"Where lease is heavy, like Florida, New York, Ohio and California, that's where we're getting hurt. When you get two cars as close as they are, it's not that much better than the Camry that people are going to pay $50, $60 [or] $80 more a month," said Rick Case, CEO of Rick Case Automotive Group.
One of Case's dealers in Florida has more than 600 Accords in stock, about 200 more than its usual stock. They have turned away some Accords in January an February. Sources told Automotive News that dealers in the Miami area have turned down around 1,000 Accords since they have too many sitting on their lots.
One reason is how consumers are trending towards to crossovers over midsize sedans. But dealers who spoke with Automotive News say there is another reason - the lack of attractive leasing options. The new Accord has a higher starting price than the previous-generation model which in turn raises the price of a lease. Honda's website lists a 36-month lease for the base Accord LX at $249 per month with a $3,199 down payment. Meanwhile, Toyota is offering a 36-month Camry LE lease in the Detroit area for $229 per month with a $1,999 down payment. In other regions, the Camry deal becomes even sweeter. In the Miami area, Toyota is offering a 36-month Camry LE lease for $199 per month with a $3,198 down payment.
The various accolades and high-quality that have been key Accord attributes aren't working at the moment.
"The quality gap has narrowed between the domestics, Honda and Toyota. When you're buying a car, you have a great story to tell a customer. When you're leasing, they say, 'Well, it has at least three years of warranty on it.' They're just renting it anyway. It is an uphill battle," said a Honda dealer in the Detroit area.
Dave Conant, owner of Conant Auto Retail Group which has four Honda dealers in California says he understand why Honda isn't throwing money at the Accord at the moment due to big investment to get it on the road. But he wouldn't be shocked if the automaker offers some sort of incentive support, especially in terms of leases later in the year.
"I'll be surprised if we don't see some help in April or May. They're not going to let the car sit on the lot. Without the incentive support, the payment from the car [that customers are] trading to the new one — the gap is too large. They need to do something to bring that closer, and the car will start selling and leasing well again," said Conant.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
The number of models that you can get with a manual transmission has been declining over the past few years. For the 2019 model year, there could be another one off the list.
The Truth About Cars has been going through General Motors' VIN decoder document for the 2019 model year. One of the items they have discovered is the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze will lose the six-speed manual for both the gas and diesel engines. It also looks like a CVT will become available. The document doesn't list what model the CVT could go in - our guess is that it could be an high-mileage eco model.
Now, GM could change what is listed in the documents in the future. Under NHTSA regulations, an automaker can add new information on models up until 60 days before the start of production.
We'll keep you posted.
Source: The Truth About Cars
Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears
BMW's vice-president of sales and marketing for the M division, Peter Quintus believes that manual and dual-clutch transmissions will be going the way of the dodo bird performance vehicles.
According to Drive, Qunitus has been banging the drum on the demise of manual transmissions for a bit. The reason isn't due to emissions but comes down them not being able to handle engines with loads of torque - saying 600Nm of torque (about 442 lb-ft). When asked about using a manual transmission from the U.S. that is able to handle all of this torque, Qunitus said the company found them to be "heavy and the shift quality was awful."
The admission of Dual-clutch transmissions not long for this world is bit surprising as more manufacturers are beginning to install them into their performance vehicles as they would deliver fast shifts. That is changing with automatics as new technologies help them shift as fast as DCTs.
"We are now seeing automatic transmissions with nine and even 10 speeds, so there's a lot of technology in modern automatics," said Quintus.
"The DCT once had two advantages: it was light and its shift speeds were higher. Now, a lot of that shift-time advantage has disappeared as automatics get better and smarter."
UPDATE: The folks at Temple of VTEC were able to find the quote from Car Magazine that the CivicX forums referenced.
"Doubtless power will continue to be transmitted by today's magical six-speed manual gearbox, with its tightly packed ratios. There's no indication of a dual-clutch gearbox for the Civic: the announced automated option is a CVT, although engineer Kariya hastily adds that he's tried to head-off the typical rev-metal thrash by making the cooking engines tractable at low revs."
We can see how some may think the Civic Type R could be getting a CVT from reading this (emphasis ours). But there is one key thing to be aware of. The line bolded mentions the Civic, not the Civic Type-R.
To put this story to rest, Temple of VTEC reached out to Honda for comment. Honda said that the Type R would only come with a six-speed manual. Those worried that Honda was going mad can breath a sigh of relief.
Source: Temple of VTEC
We're finally getting our chance to sample some forbidden fruit in the form of the Honda Civic Type R when it launches later this year. For awhile, we've known that the Type R would be coming with a six-speed manual transmission only. But it seems there is another transmission option on the horizon and one that will disappoint a number of enthusiasts. (SEE UPDATE ABOVE).
In the November issue of Car Magazine (via the CivicX forums), the publication spoke with three senior Honda folks,
Mirsuru Kariya - Head engineer of Civic
Daisuke Tsutamori - Head designer of Civic
Katsushi Inoue - Head of Honda Europe
One interesting bit of information that came out of this was the Type R getting the option of a CVT transmission. Yes, we can already hear the cries of those who believe Honda is watering the vehicle down. First, this an option as the manual will be standard. Second, engineers have reportedly tuned the transmission for low-end acceleration.