Honda’s Euro loses cur­rency

The popular Ac­cord model’s run is over de­spite its pop­u­lar­ity in Aus­tralia

Herald Sun - Motoring - - NEWS - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@news.com.au

THE last call is about to go out for Honda Ac­cord Euro or­ders. The car has just been killed off, de­spite its pop­u­lar­i­ty­here.

The Ac­cord Euro suc­cumbed be­cause of global de­mand for the wide-body Ac­cord that’s more like a Toy­ota Camry and a win­ner in the US heart­land.

Nearly 75,000 Ac­cord Euros have been de­liv­ered in Aus­tralia over the past 12 years, a re­sult that hand­ily trumps the sib­ling. Fans ex­pected its pop­u­lar­ity would mean a new-gen­er­a­tion car in 2015 but it’s not enough to save the car.

The bad news has just ar­rived from Ja­pan after a world­wide tally of the third­gen­er­a­tion Ac­cord Euro.

Honda Aus­tralia di­rec­tor Stephen Collins says: “It was a global decision to dis­con­tinue the model. The car is not sold in the US, not sold in Ja­pan. The lead mar­ket was Europe but sales have been de­clin­ing there.”

“There is no doubt it’s been a suc­cess for us. For three years in a row we sold more than 10,000. We were a rea­son­able mar­ket, but not big enough. We’re dis­ap­pointed, ob­vi­ously. But the global decision was based on the de­cline in Europe.”

Honda Aus­tralia has locked its fi­nal pro­duc­tion slot for the start of next year, which means its deal­ers are tak­ing or­ders for cars that will be de­liv­ered un­til the mid­dle of 2015.

The Euro ar­rived in 2003 as part of a new wave of Ja­panese cars, in­clud­ing the Subaru Lib­erty, which were much more Euro­pean in the way they looked and drove.

The idea was to launch a fullscale at­tack in the soft un­der­belly of Euro­pean pres­tige brands in­clud­ing Audi and BMW, but the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis hit and the Ja­panese mak­ers re­treated, and now the Euro­peans have their own gen­er­a­tion of pricecom­pet­i­tive com­pacts.

“We in­tro­duced it in 2003. Dur­ing the same pe­riod we’ve sold 52,000 wide-body Ac­cords. The best year was 2005, when we sold 10,500 cars,” Collins says. He is not ex­pect­ing a surge in the car’s fi­nal months, says there no spe­cial run-out edi­tion plan, and ex­pects the price to stay at $30,340.

The loss of the Euro is another blow for Honda Aus­tralia, whose sales have been in re­treat this year. “We re go­ing to end up around 33,000 this year. That’s clearly down on last year but we’re hav­ing a much stronger sec­ond half to the year,” Collins says.

“Next year, we’re hop­ing for close to 40,000. That will be led by HR-V and we want to be one of the main play­ers in that small SUV seg­ment.”

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