MARYSVILLE, Ohio — A 2018 Honda Accord moved methodically down the line at the Marysville Auto Plant here in February as workers in white uniforms carefully assembled and inspected the reigning North American Car of the Year.
The product features a bevy of enhancements, including a quieter ride thanks to spray foam injected into the body cavities. The sedan also provides a more solid driving experience, a byproduct of its first-ever use of a high-performance adhesive.
The new Accord, however, is leading a complicated life.
Dealers love the storied sedan, saying it's a formidable package that tops the rival Toyota Camry. Some even say it's Honda's most impressive car to date.
Even so, Honda dealers are struggling to sell it, as dealers everywhere struggle to sell midsize cars. Some have resorted to turning down shipments from Marysville.
The whirlwind of activity at the plant, therefore, is turning out to be the last action that many Accords see for some time. Once they reach dealer lots, Honda's award-winning sedans are forced to sit.
Inventory levels stood at a 104-day supply on March 1 — high by any standards, let alone Honda's typical sparse count.
Dealers around the country blame a lack of enticing lease offers.
Consumers are looking for deals, but they aren't finding any for the Accord, an improved specimen that carries a higher sticker price — $24,460 with shipping — than the previous generation. This means consumers who leased a 2015 model, for instance, are returning to stores now to find that their monthly payments will be considerably higher if they want another one.
One dealer, who declined to be named, said Honda is abandoning buyers who only lease.
Dealers say this is unacceptable as they contend with the Camry. Toyota has amplified Camry sales with regional 36-month lease specials for its lower-end LE trim.