New Honda Accord gunning for prestige brands
21 February 2008
Accord Tourer front
Honda's new Accord is aimed squarely at the BMW 3-series and Audi A4 as the Japanese firm gets serious about taking on the prestige brands.
Honda Cars general manager Bernard Bradley told BusinessCar the firm had benchmarked the 3-series in terms of driving dynamics and the A4 for interior quality. "We felt we looked at what was the best-in-class," said Bradley. "We had a bit of soul-searching to see if it [taking on the 3-series] is a credible statement and it is because we've got the examples of Civic and CR-V where we're replaced a car and taken it up a notch."
Bradley said the previous-generation CR-V had an average transaction price of around £18,000, while the current model is nearer £23,000.
"The Accord is vitally important to us," said Bradley. "Whilst we're obviously doing very well with the Civic and CR-V, it's that D [upper medium] segment offering that defines your presence in the corporate market." Bradley also pointed out that while upper medium sector sales are sliding, the premium end dominated by the 3-series and A4 is still growing.
The saloon will be launched first, arriving in the UK on 1 June, three months ahead of the Tourer estate. Honda also predicts the more stylish Tourer will take a larger share of sales.
The most notable alterations to the range come under the bonnet - the popular 2.2 i-CTDi engine is replaced by a new i-DTEC version that at 150PS is 10PS more powerful than its predecessor. The two 2.0- and 2.4-litre petrols carry over from the existing car.