Cutting costs with one Accord
Honda twins pique doubts for the future, writes NEIL McDONALD
THE global automotive meltdown could spell the end of Honda’s two Accord policy. Asian Honda president and CEO Fumihiki Ike admits the company is looking at ways to cut costs, suggesting some models available today might not be around in a few years.
The current two-model Accord range may end up becoming one and ‘‘clean’’ turbo-diesel engines are now on hold for Australia.
But Ike refuses to be drawn on which model — the Euro or the larger Accord — could face the axe.
Until now the Accord twins have worked well for Honda Australia, securing a slice of the mid-size and large-car sales segments.
Last year the company sold 7837 Accords and 6755 Euros.
Honda Japan has already signalled the end of the S2000 sports car and a high-performance NSX replacement is now under a cloud.
Ike says the company needs another sports car like the NSX but at this time it’s a low priority.
However, Honda is continuing work on the hybrid CR-Z coupe, he says. The CR-Z is expected to be launched next year.
‘‘We will still focus on technology,’’ Ike says. ‘‘I think we have to keep our technological edge.’’
That means continuing work on the company’s hybrid, fuel-cell and VTEC engine technology. However Ike warns there will be some shortterm pain, forcing some technological spending to be shelved.
Honda Australia remains committed to bringing in the Civic hatch this year and the new hybrid Insight.
Ike says the company is struggling to get a good price point for the Insight — due here late this year — because of current exchange rates.
Honda Australia senior director Lindsay Smalley is confident the company can hold on to a 5.5 per cent market share this year, an overall sales tally of slightly more than 48,000 this year and down from its 2007 sales peak of 60,000.
Smalley says there are no plans to cut staff.