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Honda to abandon hybrids for diesel?

accord sales data

Is this the sales profile of a fuel hogging SUV, or a hybrid? Answer — the hybrid version of the Honda Accord. Source: GreenCarCongress

The latest sales data for the Accord Hybrid bring another disappointing, down month (17% for the month, 48% for the year) for the hybrid version of America’s most popular car. For comparison, the Prius hit the Accord’s monthly sales in the first 17 hours of April!

GreenCarCongress is now reporting that Honda is canning the hybrid Accord, and instead focusing their energies on clean diesel. We discussed VW’s new “clean TDI” Jetta two weeks ago, and it appears that Honda maybe following a similar strategy. The 2009 Accord will include a diesel engine that also meets the Tier-2 bin-5 emissions standards (translation: street legal in California). For biodiesel enthusiasts, this would mean two mainstream, popular cars available in diesel versions.

On the flip side, this is a bit of a sad chapter for the company that built the Insight, the first full hybrid and the production car with the highest gas mileage ever. One question on our minds — with many academic studies showing that “vehicle image” underscores the purchase decisions for Prius, will Honda be bold enough to give the new green diesels a distinctive look?

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