American Honda Believes Sales of the New Honda Accord Won't Fall, Sinks $267 Million Into Ohio Plant

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
american honda believes sales of the new honda accord wont fall sinks 267 million

American Honda’s vice president for sales, Ray Mikiciuk, won’t provide a firm forecast for sales of the 10th-generation Honda Accord. But as far as next year goes, “I don’t expect to sell fewer Accords in 2018 with this great new product,” Mikiciuk tells CNBC.

With belief in the company’s new product, Honda has invested $267 million into its Marysville, Ohio, plant where the Accord, Acura TLX, and Acura ILX are assembled. With 300 additional employees, American Honda is following the lead of Toyota’s all-new 2018 Camry.

At the Camry’s Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant, production of the new TNGA-based Camry required Toyota to build up its employee count to the highest level ever. That’s certainly not the way rivals are approaching America’s midsize segment. You’ll recall that General Motors cut Chevrolet Malibu production — and consequently, jobs — in Kansas City earlier this summer. Prior to the new Camry’s launch this summer, the Malibu was the freshest midsize sedan on the block, yet Malibu sales have plunged by more than a fifth in 2017.

Ohio production of the 2018 Honda Accord began yesterday, September 18th. But what do Honda’s vague sales forecasts mean in the broader American midsize segment?

More market share.

We’ve already seen it with the all-new Toyota Camry. A nameplate that owned 19 percent of America’s midsize sedan segment over the last year improved its share of the segment to 24 percent in August 2017, a remarkable level of support for a car with nine direct competitors.

Come the tail end of 2017, and it’ll be the all-new Accord’s turn — with the Camry’s help — to decimate the opposition. Through the first two-thirds of 2018, America’s midsize sedan segment has lost 17 percent of its volume, year-over-year. Let’s say the rate of decline slows, and midsize car sales at this point in 2018 have tumbled only 10 percent. But let’s assume Honda’s sales vice president Ray Mikiciuk is correct in suggesting the Accord won’t lose sales. In that case, at this point in 2018 the Accord’s share of America’s midsize market will have shot up to 20 percent from 18 percent in 2017.

Yet even before the all-new 2018 Honda Accord arrives, Honda is already gaining great chunks of market share because sales of the outgoing ninth-gen Accord aren’t falling nearly as fast as the midsize segment overall. In 2015, Honda owned 15 percent of America’s midsize sedan market. That figure jumped to 16 percent in 2016 even as Honda reported 10,000 fewer accord sales. Despite a loss of 10,000 Accord sales through the first eight months of this year, American Honda’s share of the U.S. midsize segment has grown another by another two points in 2017.

Across the sector, America’s midsize sedan category has lost more than 240,000 sales in 2017, year-over-year. Domestic nameplates — Malibu, Ford Fusion, discontinued Chrysler 200 — account for 112,000 of those lost sales. Hyundai and Kia combined to lose nearly 48,000 Sonata and Optima sales compared with the first two-thirds of 2016. The Nissan Altima, also set to be replaced shortly, took a 34,000-sales hit.

Honda says the 2018 Accord will be available in five trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring. The 2.0T is reserved for Sport, EX-L, and Touring. Accord Hybrids will be offered at Hybrid, EX, EX-L, and Touring levels. There will be no coupe. Honda has not yet released fuel economy or pricing info.

[Image: Honda]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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  • Brucebanner Brucebanner on Sep 19, 2017

    I so want top engine spec with MT..... Right now driving a 1997 accord MT....

  • Proud2BUnion Proud2BUnion on Sep 19, 2017

    My local Honda dealers have been deeply discounting the outgoing 2017 models all summer long. I just leased my first Honda-a Accord LX- 35 payments of $219/month total cost, with zero dollars up front-they even paid registration and transfer fees ($330)! I would have preferred a Fusion, but I would have needed $3000 up front, and for the same monthly payment Ford allowed 10,500 miles/year vs 12k for the Honda. Steep discounts keep market share, evidently.

    • See 3 previous
    • Proud2BUnion Proud2BUnion on Sep 20, 2017

      @28-Cars-Later I forgot to add- included are five free oil changes+tire rotations!

  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
  • Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
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  • ToolGuy You make them sound like criminals.
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