Honda Motor Co Ltd on Friday will unveil its newest-generation Accord, one of four re-engineered midsize sedans that Asian automakers are betting on to win market share as Detroit automakers shift focus to SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks.
The new Accord, like rival Toyota Motor Corp’s all-new Camry launching this month, is expected to offer major improvements in fuel economy, technology, styling, and safety, according to Honda’s U.S. dealers. Honda declined to discuss details ahead of Friday’s event in Detroit, reports Reuters.
The Accord and Camry are pillars of their manufacturers’ U.S. businesses, each selling well over 300,000 vehicles a year. In the coming months, Nissan Motor Co Ltd is expected to launch a new Altima midsize sedan, and Hyundai Motor Co <005380.KS will launch a new Sonata midsize car. Both are popular marques that will be promoted heavily.
“There has been no new news on the midsize sedan side for three years and we think this is a great opportunity to bring attention back to the segment,” said Jack Hollis, Toyota’s head of marketing for North America.
Year to date, U.S. passenger car sales are down 11.4 percent and sales of midsize sedans are down 14.2 percent. Still, Americans bought 7.1 million sedans in 2016. With General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co cutting sedan production, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV abandoning the segment, Honda, and its Asian rivals could boost sales with updated models, dealers said.
“They could take share from other brands, which is traditionally what happens when a new product is launched,” said Pete DeLongchamps, vice president for manufacturer relations at Group 1 Automotive Inc, the third-largest U.S. auto dealer group.
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