The all-new 2018 Honda Accord is a significant improvement over the already good previous model. It won the North American Car of the Year Award, and we certainly enjoyed it when we drove it. Yet sales are down significantly month-to-month over last year since the new Accord became available last fall, according to GoodCarBadCar.
Part of this can be attributed to the general market shift away from sedans and toward crossovers and SUVs. But the Accord's closest competitor, the Toyota Camry, was also redesigned for 2018, and unlike the Accord its sales have increased. Something else must be at work here.
Automotive News reports that dealers are complaining about Honda's leasing terms not being competitive with other manufacturers. Honda quotes a standard three-year Accord lease for a $249 monthly payment with $3,199 down on the base LX model. But the Camry is available for lease in Los Angeles for $219 a month with $1,999 down. In Miami qualified buyers can lease a Camry for $199 per month with $3,198 down.
Additionally, the Accord's $24,460 base price is higher than the previous model, as well as the base $23,495 Camry. This, plus leasing terms that aren't as competitive as the Camry's, means that customers at the end of a lease on a 2015 Accord are finding they will have to pay significantly more for a 2018 Accord and are shopping elsewhere.
As a result, Accord inventory levels nationwide stood at a 104-day supply as of March 1. That's much higher than the industry average of a 70-day supply. Many dealers are declining further Accord shipments from the factory since their lots are already full of unsold models.
Both the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are excellent cars. You won't go wrong with either one. But customers want a deal, and for now, it seems the Camry is the better deal.