Honda is reducing production output of its slower-selling models from its assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio in the United States as demand for traditional sedans including the Honda Accord, Acura ILX and TLX, The Detroit Bureau reported. Honda has since responded to Motor1 that while the Acura models were intially affected, the production shift halt will primarily concern the Accord and Civic, made in the Marysville Auto Plant (MAP) and Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) respectively.
The Japanese brand has decided to drop one of its two production shifts for the Accord at the Marysville plant contrasts with what rival Toyota has done, which has managed a 6% increase in sales of its own D-segment sedan, the Camry. This, however is due to aggressive discounting by Toyota, the news site said.
“Basically, we have been trying not to get caught up in a price-cutting race,” Honda chief operating officer Seiji Kuraishi was quoted as saying. The Accord, long having been a Stateside favourite, recorded a 3.1% sales drop in July and 5.9% for the current calendar year, the news site reported. By comparison, the automaker’s popular crossover, the CR-V saw a 2.5% growth in sales last month, it added.
Suspending one shift of Civic production at the Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) facility frees up CR-V production capacity at the plant. Thailand unit shown
Both MAP and HMIN produce the CR-V in addition to the Accord and the Civic respectively, which means that the company has the flexiblity to move some CR-V production to HMIN, noting that the changes do not affect Acura production at this time, Honda spokesperson Chris Abbruzzese was quoted as saying.
Despite some sales gains achieved by the Civic line-up of sedans, coupes and hatchbacks, overall weak demand for the passenger car segment saw the brand chart negative growth for the first seven months of 2019, according to The Detroit Bureau. This downturn has been called one of the key reasons Honda reported Q2 global earnings of 172.3 billion yen (RM6.8 billion) net profit, down from 244.3 billion yen (RM9.7 billion) for this time last year.
Honda’s US move is reflective of the overall market sentiment of shrinking demand for sedans on the continent. Ford announced April last year that it planned to remove all sedans from its North American line-up, instead focusing on crossovers and its iconic Mustang. A report last August noted that the Blue Oval risked losing some of its customer base to rival brands in doing so.