Despite Honda putting together a formidable package in the 2018 Accord, dealers across the United States are having trouble selling the car, and not just because of the struggling midsize saloon segment.
It’s been reported that some Honda dealers are even turning down shipments from the Marysville plant, simply because once the 2018 Accord reaches a dealer’s lot, it’s being forced to just sit there.According to Autonews, inventory levels stood at a 104-day supply at the beginning of the month, and the culprit seems to be the lack of enticing lease offers – something Toyota has a handle on, when it comes to the new Camry.One unnamed dealer even said that Honda is abandoning buyers who only lease, while Toyota has actually boosted Camry sales with regional 36-month lease specials for lower-end LE trim models.Online, Honda is asking for a $249/month on a standard three-year Accord lease, with a $3,199 down payment for its entry-level LX version. In Los Angeles however, a Toyota Camry can be leased for just $219 per month, with a $1,999 down payment. In Miami, it’s $199 per month with a $3,198 down, for the Camry.“Where lease is heavy, like Florida, New York, Ohio and California, that’s where we’re getting hurt,” stated Rick Case, CEO of Rick Case Automotive Group, selling Hondas near Miami and Cleveland.“When you get two cars as close as they are, it’s not that much better than the Camry that people are going to pay $50, $60, $80 more a month.”Case also says that Accord sales are performing at about half their usual rate, and that relying on the nameplate’s accolades to sell cars hasn’t been enough. At the same time, Case’s dealerships haven’t been the only ones passing up on bringing in more Accords.Apparently, Miami-area dealers have turned down around 1,000 units, while some California stores have done the same and there’s trouble brewing in Detroit too.“I will take what we need for the spring. Then I’m going to take a good long look at it at the end of March and April,” added a Midwest dealer who declined to be named. “If they start piling up, I certainly will shut them off.”As for Honda’s answer to what’s been happening, a spokeswoman went on to say that the Japanese automaker is listening to dealer concerns and will take a disciplined approach moving forward.“We continue to work collaboratively with our dealer partners and appreciate our ongoing dialogue with them to ensure the overall value proposition with each of our products is competitive in the marketplace.”Yet, there are also some that feel the 2018 Accord will be just fine. Brian Benstock, GM of Paragon Honda in NY City says that it’s too early in the new Accord’s life cycle to throw money at it.“I get if the car needs incentives because of a deficiency in the car. But that car is hands down the best sedan Honda has ever made. Period,” stated Benstock.“Do we need to have the same incentives that Nissan has or Toyota has? I don’t think so. We have a better product. If given the choice between better product and better incentives, I’ll take better product all day long.”