Honda could be planning to shift production of its Accord hybrid to the United States by mid-decade, a new report finds. Honda will begin selling a Japanese-made Accord plug-in hybrid in the United States in early 2013 followed by a regular hybrid model later in the year.
Honda's all-new Accord hybrid will be built exclusively in Japan, but that could change by 2015 as the company looks to avoid losses associated with the high value of the yen. Honda produces the regular version of the Accord in the United States, and that could soon be true for Accord hybrid and plug-in variants.
"We won't be able to expand the business unless we come to be able to procure and make the battery and the motor locally, maybe around 2015," Honda chief engineer Chitoshi Yokota told Japan's Nikkei Sangyo.
It could take that long for the Accord hybrid to catch on. Yokota notes that it is much harder to sell a hybrid version of a gas model in the United States than it is to market a dedicated hybrid like the Toyota Prius.
"In the United States, hybrid-only models are selling better," Yokota said. "It is difficult to position a hybrid variant there as it is difficult for the U.S. consumer to see the merits of a hybrid when there are both petrol and hybrid models."
However, Honda promises the Accord plug-in should have the goods to deliver. The automaker says the Accord plug-in will boast an all-electric range of 15 miles and a miles-per-gallon equivalent over 100.