2018 Honda Accord World Debut – Remarks by Jeff Conrad, Senior Vice President, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Good morning, everyone! Whether live, here in Detroit or, for a good many more of you, joining via our Livestream. We’re thrilled to have you with us this morning. (to see the new 2018 Accord)
What you’re going to see in just a moment is the most dramatically styled, most sophisticated and fun-to-drive Accord we’ve ever made. But before we pull back the curtain, let’s put the world debut of the all-new, 10th-generation 2018 Accord in the proper perspective.
For 41 years and nine generations, Accord has set the standard for passenger cars in America. A perennial top seller and 31-time recipient of Car and Driver’s 10 Best award, Accord has consistently been the car to beat. And with cumulative sales of more than 13 million Accords, it means our customers have purchased roughly one Accord every two minutes for the past 41 years. That makes Accord the best-selling car in America since it was introduced… the very definition of enduring success.
Accord also helped put Honda on the map as a U.S. automaker, as the first car we manufactured in America. And it’s been in continuous production at our Marysville, Ohio plant for 35 years now.
I know many of you have strong memories of your first time in an Accord… because I hear from our customers all the time. I have some great memories of my own.
I remember in 1982, when I joined Honda, I got the keys to a second-gen Accord Hatchback. That first weekend, my wife and I took a long drive from New Jersey up to Cape Cod. Now, I had spent most of my life to that point in big domestic cars, and this Accord was pretty small by comparison, but I was blown away by how spacious it was inside and, on top of that, how fuel efficient and fun it was to drive. That’s been the Accord story for over 40 years – a car that surprises with its balance of efficiency, refinement and fun-to-drive performance.
Of course, you didn’t tune-in or show-up here today for a history lesson. You want to hear about Accord’s future. So, let me begin that story by saying that this is, unquestionably, the most dramatic remake of Accord we’ve ever done.
Of course, we wanted to maintain the fundamental things our customers value most about Accord: outstanding quality and reliability, fuel efficiency, and fun-to-drive. But we wanted to add something new: a level of emotion and premium appeal that elevates Accord beyond its affordable, midsize sedan roots.
Based on this concept, our designers and engineers reimagined this 10th-generation Accord inside and out creating something truly unexpected, and, in essence, this is the same direction we took with the new Civic, where we not only invigorated our own sales, but the segment as a whole. And we hope to repeat that approach with Accord.
It starts with the new design, and with us today are the two lead designers for the 2018 Accord, Mr. Morikawa, for the exterior and Mr. Shimizu for the interior. We visited with both of them recently in our Wako design studio and asked them to share some perspectives on the new design. Let’s take a look.
It’s an all-new Accord that speaks to your head and your heart in equal measure. Now, it’s my great pleasure to share with you the global debut of the all-new, completely reimagined 2018 Honda Accord.
As you can see, with the Touring, Sport and Hybrid models on stage, we’re taking Accord in a more stylish, sporty and premium direction. It starts with the fundamentals, where our designers and engineers really reimagined the overall proportions of Accord, making it lower and wider with a more than-two-inch-longer wheelbase and shortened overall length. This provides a stronger stance and contributes to even more dynamic handling.
They gave it a dramatic new face with LED lighting, a long and sculpted hood, and a swept-back greenhouse moved rearward on the body – all leading into a shortened rear deck highlighted by LED taillights and dual exhausts. The overall result is a more premium and athletic design with stance and proportion you wouldn’t expect of a front-drive mainstream sedan.
We’d like to think this Accord will ace the valet test like no Accord that’s come before.
Of course, our story is much more than just styling. This will be the most fun-to-drive Accord ever, and that starts with the wider stance, longer wheelbase, a lower center of gravity and a lower seating position.
There’s also a lighter and more rigid body, an advanced new chassis, and three new engines, including two new turbos – our first-ever turbocharged engines for Accord. The base 1.5-liter turbo puts out 192 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque, at the top of its class. It’s mated to either a Honda CVT, which many of you have recognized as the best of the breed, or, for our Sport trim, an available short throw 6-speed manual.
Moving up the line, we have an all-new 2.0-liter turbo with i-VTEC® valvetrain that shares its basic design with the power plant of our new Civic Type R. In Accord this engine puts out 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, which is the highest torque output ever for Accord. And its mated to our new 10-speed automatic, the first of its kind for a front-wheel-drive car.
In Sport trim, the new 2.0-liter turbo can be equipped with a 6-speed manual. Enthusiasts out there have been asking us to ‘save the manuals’ and with cars like the Civic Hatch, Si, Type R and now this new Accord, we’re doing just that!
Now, as you may have figured out already, there will be no coupe variant for this new generation 2018 Accord. But with our new styling direction and a Sport trim with a 6-speed manual for both turbocharged engines, we’ve injected a lot of coupe goodness that will make this new Accord sedan… a car coupe intenders will want to take a hard look at.
Now, I said three new engines, and the third is an even more efficient 2-liter Atkinson cycle engine with the next generation of our two-motor hybrid system. And with the all-new battery pack relocated under the floor – beneath the rear seat instead of behind it – our new hybrid keeps the same larger trunk space as gasoline models – besting all of our key competitors. It also means the new Hybrid has the same cargo-carrying flexibility of the gas models with 60/40-split and folding second row seats.
Underneath the skin is a more rigid and lightweight body with our highest ever application of ultra-high strength steel, plus a new aluminum-intensive chassis with available Adaptive Dampers. These are tied to a Two-Mode Driving system, with Normal and Sport modes, that lets you dial up the Accord’s reflexes when the mood is right.
And while EPA ratings are not yet final, we expect to deliver top-class fuel economy and performance. It all adds up to the most refined, sporty and responsive Accord we’ve ever made.
Now, when you get inside this new 2018 Accord, wrap your hands around the new sportier steering wheel and look out on an amazing, panoramic view of the road, made possible by a lower cowl and A-pillars that are both 20 percent thinner and moved back relative to the driver.
And when you look down the road, you’re going to experience a new level of interior quality and sophistication highlighted by a new digital driver’s meter with an available new Head-Up Display that places key information in line of sight.
The new meter sits within a three-tiered, ultra-low profile instrument panel that wraps around the occupants in elegant style. And there are high-grade, soft-touch surfaces everywhere you look. It’s simply a class above in terms of refinement and premium feel.
And with its longer wheelbase, the new 2018 Accord offers class-leading interior space, including nearly 2 inches of added rear legroom, putting it at the top of its class. And Accord will have all our latest and greatest technology – a new touchscreen with sharper graphics, a more intuitive user interface and, of course, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™.
But in addition to a touchscreen, Accord will have both a volume knob and a second physical knob for radio tuning and list scrolling. We’re also adding effortless Bluetooth phone pairing, a first for the segment – just tap your phone to the icon and its paired. And with an available wireless charging pad, using your smart phone has never been easier.
Accord will offer a more advanced connected-car experience with the application of new in-car 4G LTE Wi-Fi. And with over-the-air system updates, all Accord customers can upgrade to the latest software via Wi-Fi.
Finally, we’re delivering our most advanced suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies with Honda Sensing as standard equipment on every new Accord. And this is not limited only to autonomous emergency braking, with features in multiple option packages, like some mid-size sedan competitors. It includes a full suite of features as standard equipment on every single trim level of Accord. So, we expect the 2018 Accord to continue to earn top safety ratings.
Now, we’re still a few months from launch, and we’ll have much more to share, including fuel economy numbers and pricing in the days ahead, but as you can see, we’ve created an all-new Accord for the next generation; an Accord for the head and the heart – that we think will not only maintain Accord’s position as America’s best-selling midsize car, but will make people rethink the sedan when they’re ready for a new vehicle.
Now, I’d like to invite all of you watching online to visit our just-launched 2018 Accord Website.
Thank you all, for joining us.