BARCELONA -- Honda will end sales of the Accord midsize sedan in Europe after the car failed to make headway against German rivals.
“We are running out the Accord and we will not return to the segment,” Leon Brannan, Honda’s UK car division boss, told Automotive News Europe at a press event here.
Honda has struggled to sell the Accord in a segment where even the most popular mass-market models such as the Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo are losing sales to premium rivals such as the BMW 3 series and Mercedes C class.
Brannan said the midsize segment is dominated by corporate sales to German premium brands. “The cost to compete is eye-watering,” he said.
Honda launched the Accord in Europe in 1977 and began building the car at its factory in Swindon, England, in 1992. The Accord attracted buyers with its reliability and affordable technology.
However, after a production shift from the UK to Japan in 2000, Honda was unable to match discounts offered by European automakers when the yen strengthened against local currencies.
The Accord’s European sales fell 19 percent to 3,453 last year, according to data from JATO Dynamics.
Honda’s total vehicle sales in the EU and EFTA markets fell 5 percent to 133,268 last year, giving it a 1 percent market share, according to data from industry body ACEA.
Honda expects its European sales to rebound this year, helped by new models including the HR-V subcompact crossover, which will go on sale in Europe in the spring. The company has also refreshed its top-selling car in Europe, the CR-V compact SUV.