Bernard Bradley, general manager – cars, believes the new Accord can challenge the 3 Series for corporate business, but is aware that every manufacturer with a new upper-medium saloon makes that claim.
“You hear all the time: ‘We’re going to challenge the 3 Series’,” said Mr Bradley.
“But I believe we have credibility behind that statement if you look at the performance of the new CR-V and, to an extent, the Civic.
“The level of CR-Vs we are selling now compared to 12 months ago is light years ahead.
“The average price now is £24,000, compared to £18,000-£19,000 then, with some selling for up to £30,000.
“This shows that Honda can sell cars at that premium price level. We’re picking up sales from everywhere – old CR-V, premium compact saloons and other SUVs.
“And proof that Honda is moving in the right direction is shown by the mix of Civic sales, which has moved from £11,000 to £15,000-£16,000.
“We plan to do the same with the new Accord – we are aiming to go further upmarket, appealing in both four-door and Touring guises to user-choosers.”
Exact details about the new Accord will be released in February, but it is bigger than the current model, more sharply styled and, importantly, will come with a Euro V-compliant i-DTEC diesel from launch, which will be around June and July.
There will be a full fleet launch program before its on-sale date, with residuals likely to be set some time in the spring.
Mr Bradley is keen to attract a richer mix of business through user-chooser and leasing companies.
He added: “We can get an overall richer mix with the new Accord. We don’t think we will be outselling the 3 Series, but we will be looking to increase volumes and taking that extra business from the traditional premium brands.”