2018 Honda Accord struggles to move units

Widespread accolades, but dealers cite uncompetitive lease terms

The 2018 Honda Accord boasts sleek new fastback styling, improved ride and interior, higher fuel efficiency, and a bevy of awards and plaudits from the automotive press, but the reigning North American Car of the Year is not exactly lighting it up on dealer lots.

In February, sales of the Accord were down 15.8 percent from the year before and 14.7 percent year-to-date. Automotive News reports that inventory levels stood at a 104-day supply — high by dealership standards — and that some dealerships have even begun turning down shipments of the midsize sedan from the factory in Marysville, Ohio. They're blaming a lack of attractive leasing options for consumers.

At $24,460 with shipping, the 2018 Accord is priced higher than its predecessor, meaning higher monthly lease payments for return customers. A standard three-year lease for the base LX trim version brings a monthly $249 payment after plunking down $3,199. By comparison, you can lease a Toyota Camry for just $199 a month in Miami for a similar down payment, or $219 a month in Los Angeles with $1,999 down.
One Detroit-area Honda dealer said the quality of the new Accord doesn't seal the deal with consumers looking to lease for only a few years.

"The quality gap has narrowed between the domestics, Honda and Toyota," the dealer told Automotive News. "When you're buying a car, you have a great story to tell a customer. When you're leasing, they say, 'Well, it has at least three years of warranty on it.' They're just renting it anyway. It is an uphill battle."

The Accord is also competing in a tough segment, as U.S. buyers increasingly shun sedans for larger crossovers, SUVs and pickups.

Now in its 10th generation, the Accord moved from a V6 to two direct-injection, turbocharged four-cylinder engine options, plus a two-mode hybrid system. You can read our First Drive review here.

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