Honda Accord Euro future unclear

The future of the Honda Accord Euro is unclear.
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Honda's medium car has continued to be a solid sales performer during a time when production of other key models such as the Jazz, Civic, CR-V and wide-body Accord had been stalled in 2011 by the Thailand floods.

It has been almost five years since the second generation of the Japanese-built mid-sized Honda Accord Euro sedan and eighth-generation wide-body Accord launched, however, and there’s no sign of a new version of the smaller sedan despite the ninth-generation wide-body model having already debuted.

The typical Japanese model lifecycle is five years, the same timeframe that the original Euro followed, having sold here between 2003 and 2008.

Despite its vintage, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins confirmed that no decision has yet been made about a next-generation Accord Euro.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about what happens with Euro,” said Collins. “In Europe, the model is still doing pretty well.”

Collins reinforced that Honda is happy with the two-model Accord strategy in Australia, the only market in the world that sells both compact (for Europe) and wide-body (for the US) versions of the nameplate.

Neither Collins nor Honda Australia principal advisor Lindsay Smalley could shed light on timing for the new-generation Honda Accord Euro, nor confirm the existence of such a model.

“[The current] Euro will be around for a long time,” said Smalley. “It will be upgraded. It’s hitting five years now, so there will be a refreshment … an upgrade.”

The Honda Accord Euro is designed to appeal to European buyers – where it is simply badged ‘Accord’ – however new-car sales on the financially ravaged continent are down around 30 per cent this year. The Euro’s larger sibling, the US-based wide-body Accord, continues to sell strongly in its native market, averaging 26,000 units per month.

That may give clues as to why the next-generation wide-body Accord will be replaced first.

Honda was hit hard by the GFC in 2008. Forced to cut engineering budgets, the company has all but confessed it hasn’t kept pace with the technology of its competition – the fourth-generation CR-V released this week lacks direct injection and gets an automatic transmission with only five ratios.

The current Accord Euro will face a wall of fresh competitors in the next year – the all-new Mazda6 will launch locally next week, the Holden Malibu will arrive in March, and the all-new Ford Mondeo will follow in late 2013.

In 2013, Honda expects Accord Euro sales to remain at “300-ish” per month, with the wide-body Accord to take lead with around 400 sales per month.

To October this year, Honda has sold 5591 Accord Euros, and just 990 Accords.