DETROIT -- A half-decade after killing the hybrid Accord sedan, Honda Motor Co. is taking another stab at it, betting a completely overhauled gasoline-electric drivetrain will deliver better fuel economy and put it in the race against rivals from Toyota, Ford and Hyundai.
The new hybrid technology is scheduled to go on sale in the redesigned ninth-generation Accord next winter. It offers a two-motor plug-in system that can drive 15 miles in electric-only mode. A weaker motor-assist system was used in the earlier Accord Hybrid.
"It's chalk and cheese," said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president. "That hybrid paled in comparison" to the coming version, "not only in the technology but in the performance."
Mendel expects U.S. sales of the Accord nameplate to reach 300,000 units this year, which would be a 27 percent increase over 235,625 last year.
The redesigned model -- with two new gasoline drivetrains as well as the hybrid -- is seen powering the brand's recovery from its slump in 2011.