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Honda ends hybrid Accord models

June 5, 2007 at 6:40 PM

TORRANCE, Calif., June 5 (UPI) -- Honda Motor Co. will stop making the hybrid version of its Accord sedan at the end of the model year due to poor sales, the No. 2 Japanese automaker said.

"The reason it didn't sell is because the price premium wasn't justified by the gas mileage," Edmunds.com automotive analyst Jesse Toprak said.

Honda sold 439 Accord hybrids in the United States last month, the Los Angeles Times reported. By contrast, Toyota Motor Corp. sold 24,009 of its less-expensive, segment-leading Prius sedans.

The 2007 hybrid Accord's base sticker price is $31,685, compared with $26,820 for the closely competitive Toyota Camry hybrid sedan.

The Accord's combined city-highway mileage of 31 miles per gallon is far less than Prius's 55 mpg or the Honda Civic hybrid's 50 mpg. And it is not much better than the four-cylinder non-hybrid Accord's 28 mpg, the Times said.

Honda learned hybrid-car buyers focus almost exclusively on "high fuel-economy numbers," spokesman Sage Marie said.

The failure is a rare misstep for Honda, analysts said.

"Almost everything they've done here has worked, and this is just a minor setback," said Tom Libby, a J.D. Power & Associates analyst.

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