Hybrid buyers aren"t looking for performance oriented vehicles like the 6-cylinder Accord hybrid.© Honda Motor Co.
In what some environmentalists are calling a welcome adjustment, Honda announced last week that it is scrapping the slow-selling performance-oriented hybrid version of its Accord sedan, which debuted in 2004. While hybrids have skyrocketed in popularity across the U.S., the Accord version was priced as much as $5,000 more than its closest competitor, Toyota’s hybrid Camry, while achieving significantly worse fuel economy. The Accord hybrid, sold as a performance vehicle thanks to its beefy six-cylinder engine, listed for about $10,000 more than a four-cylinder gas-only Accord—and got similar gas mileage despite the fuel-saving hybrid technology under the hood.
For these reasons, Honda decided to focus on the more successful Civic hybrid, as well as a new, smaller and as-yet-unnamed hybrid model slated to appear in 2009. Just last year, Honda also axed its Insight model (first seen in 1999), the first hybrid car mass-produced by any company for U.S. drivers. The Insight was a fully mature and successful product, but the Accord hybrid was plainly a mismatch for consumers who want their hybrids to actually live up to their hype as environmentally friendly vehicles.
Sources: sacbee.com; NY Times/hybrid