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Future uncertain for Honda Accord Euro

Not quite: Honda Australia director Stephen Collins confirmed that the next Accord Euro will not be based on the Acura TLX that was revealed at last week's Detroit show.

Honda is still yet to decide whether to build the third-generation Accord Euro

Honda logo22 Jan 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

THE future of the Honda Accord Euro remains under a cloud with the Japanese car-maker still uncertain about whether to push ahead with a third-generation version of the popular mid-sizer.

With no replacement on the horizon, the current-generation model that went on sale in mid 2008 will have to plough on for a while yet alongside the regular Accord which launched in Australia in May last year.

Speaking at the launch of the CR-V diesel this week, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said the current strategy of selling both the regular US-centric Thai-built Accord and the Japanese-sourced Euro side-by-side will continue, for the medium term at least.

“We are still working through the longer term future but certainly for the foreseeable future - and foreseeable future is definitely this year and into next year - we will be selling the current Euro which is aging but I still think it is a competitive car.”

Last week, Honda's luxury offshoot Acura ripped the covers off its TLX mid-size sedan at the Detroit motor show, prompting speculation that it would surface in Europe and Australia as the next-gen Euro, albeit with styling changes that are more appropriate for the local market.

Mr Collins said that there was no decision on the future of the next Euro, but confirmed that if there is a new model, it will not be based on the TLX.

“At this point there is no decision on the next Euro. There was some speculation about the Acura TLX at Detroit. That's not the next Euro. That car is for the US market and is left-hand drive only.”

Asked whether a final decision had been made by Honda's global headquarters in Japan, Mr Collins said a decision will be made further down the track.

“There has been no global decision on new Euro, so at this point in time we sell the current Accord and current Euro side-by-side and then that will be determined somewhere in the future,” he said.

When pressed further on the next Euro being at least three to four years off, Mr Collins said that there was a chance that Honda will ditch the stylish mid-sizer completely, depending on demand in Europe.

“What I am saying is that there may or may not be a new Euro. It's pretty much as simple as that,” he said. “We are very unique, we are maybe the only country in the world of any substance to be selling both cars side-by-side. The Euro decision is very much driven by Europe.”

The European financial downturn has seen automotive sales slide in recent years, with mid-size cars such as the Accord taking a beating. This places doubt over whether the Japanese car-maker will bother with a replacement for the five-and-a-half year-old model, or whether it will concentrate its efforts in other segments, such as the booming sub-compact SUV market.

Mr Collins said that should Honda's management decide to push ahead with development of a new European focussed Accord, he would be very keen to continue the dual-Accord strategy for the Australian market.

“For us the two Accord strategy has worked really well so if there is a new Euro then we would be absolutely at the front of the queue.”

As well as the Australian and New Zealand markets, Honda also sells the Euro in China as a Spirior, while Acura re-badges the Accord Euro as the TSX in North America.

This model, along with the TL sedan, is about to be replaced in the US in favour of the aforementioned TLX that was shown at Detroit last week.

In Australia, the current Accord Euro was met with critical acclaim upon its release, but sales have slowed since with Honda selling just 1834 examples of the car in 2013, a massive drop of 70 per cent over the previous year's total.

In contrast, the new Accord recorded a giant 92 per cent sales boost in 2013 with 3006 sales, compared to 1565 units in 2012.

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