Honda is placing another big bet on hybrids.
The 11th-generation Accord, which mixes the sedan’s classic fastback styling with a new air of elegance and forward-thinking tech, will offer three well-equipped gasoline-electric trims in Canada — four trims south of the border — that are expected to draw half of all buyers in both countries.
The Japanese automaker projects 50 per cent of shoppers will opt for the hybrid models positioned at the top of the 2023 Accord’s simplified lineup.
Much like the revamped 2023 CR-V hybrid, arriving in dealerships now, and the forthcoming Civic hybrid, likely to launch early next year, stoking interest in the latest Accord’s hybrid models is part of Honda’s plan to shift customers into electrified powertrains. Honda aims to achieve global carbon neutrality by 2050.
In addition to checking a key box on Honda’s electrification strategy, Lance Woelfer, Honda’s assistant vice president of sales, says that the redesigned Accord, unveiled Thursday, will “reinvigorate” the shrinking midsize segment.
Steve Hui, assistant vice-president of Honda Canada, called the vehicle “ an integral piece of our North American electrification strategy.”
The U.S. midsize car segment fell below 1 million units in 2021 and is off another 16 per cent this year through September, as consumers migrate to crossovers and other light trucks.
At the same time, Canada’s midsize car segment fell below 35,000 units in 2021 and is off another 22 per cent this year through September.
“While dynamics are changing and the segment isn’t the powerhouse it once was, it remains important to the industry and important for Honda, which has been a mainstay of the category,” said Stephanie Brinley, associate director at S&P Global Mobility.
U.S. sales of the Accord slid 30 percent to 122,214 this year through October. Along with the venerable Civic, and more recently the HR-V subcompact crossover, the Accord remains a key entry point to the Honda brand for many U.S. households.
“The difficulties for Accord sales of the past two years are as much about external factors than a lack of competitiveness or strength for the Accord,” Brinley said.
The Accord holds the No. 2 place on the midsize car leaderboard behind Camry, according to the Automotive News Data Center. The Camry is No. 1 with 214,403 U.S. deliveries in 2022 through September and Nissan’s Altima is No. 3 with sales of 106,122.
The updates to the 2023 Honda Accord are designed to keep it competitive. When it goes on sale in January, it will still offer buyers a sporty and practical package with a spacious interior but updated styling.