The times they are a-changin’.
Americans love crossovers. Deeply. But another once popular segment is now paying the price, sedans. Crossovers, as we should all know by now, are nothing more than raised sedans with more SUV-like bodies. Their main advantage, other than style, is increased cargo capacity and a taller seating position for drivers. The Ford Focus and Fusion are already crossover victims and now we’re hearing the Honda Civic and Accord could be in trouble as well.
According to the Associated Press, Honda is slowing down Accord production at its Marysville, Ohio production facility. The automaker plans to temporarily idle its second-shift production line this August and isn’t expected to resume full production for several years.
This slowdown will also enable Honda to prepare the factory for future electric vehicle production. Still, this is a blow to local workers. This specific line normally produces around 55,000 vehicles per year, the majority being Accords. Even some CR-V crossover production will soon shift from Marysville to a factory in Indiana – the same place where the Civic is built. For now, fortunately, there will be no layoffs but some voluntary buyouts for some selected employees are expected. What’s more, the Accord production slowdown will affect the engine and transmission plants that are also located in Ohio.
The Accord and Civic’s latest sales figures explain Honda’s decision. Although Accord sales are up by 4.6% through March this year, they fell almost 10% last year.
Civic sales have also taken a nose dive. They’re down by 5% so far this year and fell almost 14% in 2018. As for the CR-V, well, that’s a different story. Sales are up by 6.4% through last month, which is exactly where Honda wants them to be in a market where trucks and SUVs made up nearly 70% of new vehicle sales so far in 2019.