The third largest Japanese automaker – Honda Motor – has apparently decided to desert the European midsize segment, giving the axe to the well-known Accord nameplate that is due for an upcoming revision in Japan and the US.
It appears that the decision (which is not the only one in recent years, as the automaker also stopped selling the Insight and CR-Z hybrids due to low sales) has been taken because the model was unsuccessful in Europe in its attempt to gain market share from German rivals especially. “We are running out the Accord and we will not return to the segment,” commented Leon Brannan, Honda’s UK car division chief for Automotive News Europe. Honda has found it hard to increase sales in a segment where even the most popular mass-market midsize sedans such as the Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo have lost market share to premium rivals – the 3 Series from BMW, the A4 from Audi and the C Class from Mercedes-Benz. The executive pointed out that when it comes to investments, “the cost to compete is eye-watering,” because the segment is primarily targeted towards corporate buyers choosing the German premium brands.
Additionally, the passenger car segments, especially the midsize one, have been loosing steam recently because the private customers prefer to choose a more popular SUV or crossover – even if it’s a class below for the same money. When it comes to Accord’s history, the Japanese brand launched the model in Europe back in 1977 and started regional production at its assembly facility in Swindon, England, in 1992. The output was shifted back to Japan in 2000, with the carmaker unable to match discounts of European automakers since then.
Via Automotive News Europe