Honda Accord Hybrid In Trouble

Hybrids are hot property these days, but not so with Honda's hybrid version of the Accord. On June 4 Honda officials announced that the company will discontinue the hybrid Accord at the end of the current model year. The new Honda Accord, which will go on sale in September, will not be available in a gasoline-electric hybrid version, according to a company spokesman. Hybrid cars use electric motors to supplement power from the gasoline, resulting in improved fuel economy.

Since the model debut in the market in 2004, the Japanese automaker sold roughly 25,000 of the cars in North America. Slightly more than 6,000 were sold last year. Auto industry analysts characterized the car's brief run as a cautionary tale, with the lesson being that only a small segment of the public will buy a vehicle that carries a high price for hybrid technology but delivers limited fuel economy compared with other gas-electric vehicles.

Federal fuel mileage estimates on the 2007 Honda Accord Hybrid came in at 28 m.p.g. in the city and 35 m.p.

g. on the highway -- only marginally better than 26/34 m.p.g.

ratings on an Accord sedan with a four-cylinder gas engine and a five-speed manual transmission. The 2007 Accord Hybrid ranged from $31,000 to $33,000 in price however, compared with $18,500 to $29,500 for gas-fueled Accord sedans. Honda has previously announced that it will introduce a new hybrid car in 2009. That car will be smaller in size and less expensive than the Honda Civic Hybrid. The Accord, a midsized car, is larger and more expensive than the Civic. The competing Toyota Camry Hybrid uses a four-cylinder engine resulting in considerably better fuel economy than the Accord Hybrid.

Hybrids accounted for 14 percent of Camrys sold last month, but just 1.4 percent of Accords, according to data from Power Information Networks, an auto research firm. The Accord and Camry are the two best-selling passenger cars in the United States. Honda ? also maker of top of the line Honda axle assembly has not revealed whether the Accord would get the diesel engine. The European version of the Accord - a car sold in the United States as the Acura TSX - is available in Europe with a diesel engine.

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