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Honda's Accord double act

Under consideration: The Accord Euro could make it to Australia alongside the larger US-designed version.

Honda is considering a two-pronged Accord attack when generation seven goes on sale next year

15 Oct 2002

HONDA Accord buyers could have the choice of two very different versions of the mid-size sedan when the seventh generation goes on sale in Australia around July 2003.

Australia currently takes the larger US-designed Accord only, but local executives believe there could be additional sales in taking the smaller version sold in Japan and Europe as well.

The potential move reflects the disenchantment some long-term Accord owners feel toward the current wide body US model, which has been on sale in Australia since late 1997.

While one of the top selling cars in the USA, sales of the Accord have slumped dramatically here since mid-2001, the victim of significant price hikes and because it is reaching the end of its life.

The dual sales strategy would probably mean the US version being offered with the 3.0-litre V6 engine and the Euro version with a 2.4-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder powerplant.

The latest US Accord was revealed in July and has already proved a big sales hit there, while the Euro version was launched at the Paris show this month.

"We are definitely taking the American Accord to replace our current car because we have a number of customers out there who do like that bigger style, more space inside and also the option of a V6," explained Honda Australia product planning manager Justin Orr.

"But the other car looks excellent as well and if there was a spot for it in our lineup we'd be interested in it.

"We have started negotiations with Japan ... and we need to have a decision pretty soon on whether it will be available for our market, whether it can meet Australian Design Rules and that sort of thing.

"But the hardest thing is working out whether it can fit into our lineup, it's more of an internal discussion ... we can't just cannibalise the other car's sales." The two cars would probably be marketed with different names, the smaller version possibly picking up the "Accord Euro" appellation as it is sold in Japan.

A final decision won't be made until after both cars are researched in Australia.

Mr Orr ruled out any possibility of the wagon, coupe or a hot Type R version of the Accord making it to Australia.

The US car offers the choice of a 179kW 3.0-litre V6 or a 120kW 2.4-litre four-cylinder, while the Accord Euro offers a 147kW 2.4 or 114kW 2.0. A Type-R version has also been released in Japan with the same 162kW 2.0-litre as the Japan-spec Integra Type-R. Both cars have double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension.

Dimensionally, the US car is 4813mm long, 1450mm high, 1816mm wide and has a 2740mm wheelbase. The Euro version is 4665mm long, 1450mm high, 1760mm wide and has a 2670mm wheelbase.

The styling of the two cars reflects their different applications. The US version is more rounded and conservative as it is aimed at a mass market, while the new Euro Accord is more aggressive and angular in the style of the new Mazda6, reflecting its more upmarket pitch.

The Accord is one of two major new product launches Honda Australia has in 2003, with the MDX luxury soft-roader due to go on sale in April.

* Honda has also researched market response to the Civic-based Stream small people mover and the larger STEP WGN recently and has ruled both out for local sales for the "foreseeable future".

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