Flagship four-door bound for Australia, but we’ll have to wait
The 10th generation Honda Accord won’t be coming to Australia until late 2019 — more than two years after its world premiere, which took place in Detroit last July.
With big sedan sales going down the toilet in many established markets in favour of SUVs, Honda has doubled-down on supplying American and Chinese demand to drive volume.
As such, right-hand drive (RHD) production has not yet kicked off, and is way down the priority list, especially given booming sales of Civic, HR-V and CR-V here.
This has left Honda Australia with little option but to wait until its global parent decides to make the new-shape Accord outside those two hub countries, in right-hand drive.
The likely scenario is making a version in one of its three Thai factories, since the Japan market doesn’t offer the new model.
The business case is not overwhelming. Accord sales have fallen from 4840 units in 2013 (including the now-defunct Accord Euro), to 337 last year. That’s down 93 per cent in five years.
The segment as a whole fell 27.4 per cent between 2012-17, and is down an additional 25 per cent this year.
The Toyota Camry’s market share remains over 50 per cent, with rivals like the Mazda 6, Ford Mondeo, Subaru Liberty and Volkswagen Passat all battling.
“Our plan with Accord is to launch it next year, most likely later next year. To this point only left-hand drive is available,” Honda Australia chief Stephen Collins said. It’s hard to blame Collins for this one.
“We just think the Accord name has been in the market for decades, it’s our flagship sedan, despite that segment just continuing to drop, we just think its an important model.
“It’s taking us time… we’d prefer to have it in shorter period but it’s currently not available in RHD anywhere. We’re getting it as soon as we can.”
While specific model details remain foggy, Honda Australia says it will spec its Accord up to the hilt with all available active safety tech, and position the car as a luxury offering.