We talked about this back in January and have been hearing about it as long ago as 2005, but Honda seems set to make it official. There will be no new Accord Hybrid in their lineup. Instead the North American market will get a diesel Accord to fight the mileage wars. Honda will still develop hybrids for the Civic and "another subcompacts currently under development" according to Nihon Keizai Shimbun, but don't expect a hybrid Accord. Midsize and larger vehicles will go the oil-burner route with Honda's new clean diesels that we expect to see in 2009.
The diesel in the Accord will likely be an ultra-clean four-cylinder rumored to be in the 2.2 - 2.4L range and capable of meeting California's strict Tier II / Bin 5 standards, which are the toughest diesel emissions standards in the world. While horsepower isn't likely to match the outgoing V6 hybrid, torque and fuel mileage should be more than a match. For those that still need a little more power, Honda is also working on a diesel V6 that will first appear in the Ridgeline and then find its way into Honda's vans and SUVs. While the Germans have been advancing the acceptance of diesels for years, a mainstream player like Honda will really push the technology to the forefront in North America.