Is the next Accord daring enough?
Photo credit: BRENDA PRIDDY & COMPANY
LOS ANGELES -- First glimpses of the redesigned 2013 Honda Accord sedan show merely evolutionary styling for a car that desperately needs a shot of excitement.
Over an 18-month stretch that began last fall, the mid-sized sedan segment will see redesigns of the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion, as well as the Accord.
Honda executives say they learned a lesson on the 2012 Civic redesign, when they de-contented too much. But a purely evolutionary design change for the Accord could spell trouble when the competition is making big strides in styling, especially the Fusion with its aggressive Aston Martin-like cues.
Accord sales last year fell 17 percent vs. the previous year to 235,625 units, although a big chunk of the loss can be attributed to earthquake-related parts shortages. Through May this year, thanks in part to hefty stair-step incentives during the old model's sell-down, Accord sales were up 13 percent to 126,254 units.
But that's still a long way from the days when the Accord routinely achieved 400,000 sales annually -- without daily rental fleet sales.
The Accord used to run solidly in second place behind the Camry. But with the Altima making a run for the best-selling-car crown and the Fusion gaining ground, the new Accord could be in also-ran territory before it's even out of the gate.
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