The U.S.-built 2013 Honda Accord may debut with I-4 and V-6 powertrains, but the plug-in sedan variant is only one model year away. While the 2014 Accord PHEV may be built in Japan and in small numbers, a new report says that Honda may begin production of the advanced four-door in the U.S. as early as calendar-year 2015. With the yen-to-dollar exchange rate destroying any potential profits, though, until such a move occurs, Honda will continue to import Japanese-built Accord PHEVs to the U.S.
This won’t be the first time Honda has tried selling an Accord hybrid. From 2004 to 2008, the automaker offered an Accord V-6 Hybrid, but since the premium-priced car focused more on performance than fuel economy, it was discontinued. The automaker says that selling a hybrid version of a car alongside a regular gas-only model can be harder than selling a hybrid-only vehicle such as the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius because there is no non-hybrid variant of the same car that makes it difficult for some consumers to justify the added cost.
“The blended brakes’ handoff between regenerative and friction braking as you approach a stop — historically one of the hardest things for car companies to get right — is the best we’ve ever experienced,” we wrote in our 2013 Accord First Drive, about the plug-in variant. “The Accord PHEV is not quick off the line — in fact, it’s painfully slow — but it accelerates quite rapidly at highway speeds.”
Some PHEVs already on the market or soon to roll into dealerships include the Toyota Prius Plug-In, Chevrolet Volt, and Ford Fusion Energi. Final assembly for the Volt and C-Max is in Michigan while the Prius Plug-in is built in Japan. Does the location of where a PHEV is built matter to you?
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)