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Honda To Pull Plug on Accord Hybrid

In what may signal a major strategy shift by Honda, the Japanese automaker will phase out the gas-electric version of its Accord next year and replace it with a clean diesel, according to the Nikkei.
The move is expected to reflect Honda's future emphasis on clean diesels, in contrast to Toyota's focus on hybrids. The report says Honda will offer clean diesel options in its CR-V and Odyssey minivan as well.

In North America, Honda apparently will only offer hybrid systems in its smallest vehicles, including the Civic and a Fit-based subcompact car.

Inside Line has learned from supplier sources that the upcoming Accord diesel is likely to be a torquey 2.5-liter unit that gets 45 mpg on the highway and is inspired by diesels from Fiat and Renault. Honda is also said to be working on multiple-displacement diesels for the U.S. market. The move toward diesels by Honda is seen as a very significant step that may ultimately rewrite the book on diesels, since Honda is widely viewed as a leader in powertrain engineering. The Accord diesel is also expected to help Honda regain sales momentum that it has lost to Toyota in the alt-fuel fight.

The Accord Hybrid puts a premium on performance above fuel economy and is priced nearly $4,000 more than a conventional model. The automaker sold approximately 5,600 Accord Hybrid models last year, compared with more than 31,000 hybrid Civics. Toyota sold nearly 107,000 Prius hybrids in 2006.

© Source: insideline
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