The Car That Continues to Evolve by Maintaining Harmony with the Times, People, and Society
The Accord has received high honors on three occasions in Japan. After winning the 1976 Car of the Year award, the Accord was named the Japan Car of the Year for the 1985/86 period and again for the 1993/94 period (both given by the Japan Car of the Year Executive Committee). In contrast, domestic sales continued to decline after reaching the all-time high of 94,986 units in 1978. Sales for 1998 ended at 59,040 units. One reason behind the shrinking sales is the growing popularity of RVs in the domestic market, a presence that has eroded the sedan market.
Nevertheless, the Accord has received consistently high marks overseas. For example, it won the 1977 Car of the Year Award in the under-$5,000 category from Road Test and Car & Driver magazines. The Accord has also been a favorite of Car & Driver in its Ten Best awards, which began in 1983. Including its 1998 selection, the Accord has received twelve top awards in sixteen years.
As for its sales history in the U.S., the Accord has consistently sold in the neighborhood of 400,000 units, annually, since its 1976 release. The car sold 18,643 units in its initial year, hitting an all-time high of 417,179 units in 1990. Cumulative sales volume over the 23-year period is approximately 6.47 million units. The Accord even outpaced the Ford Taurus to become the top-selling model in sales volume (passenger-car category) for three years in a row, beginning in 1989. Moreover, the Accord has been routinely named among the top performers in various car rankings.
Today, the Accord is produced at factories in twelve countries and sold in more than 140 countries around the world. At the end of 1998, cumulative production volume exceeded 10.22 million units worldwide. This remarkable achievement only proves that the Accord is more than a world-class car. It has become a world standard: A car that is accepted, trusted and loved by drivers around the world.
"One thing that we must remember with the Accord," said Kizawa, who oversaw the car's development, "is that when developing a new model the engineers must thoroughly understand the vernacular of the times and the market in which they are selling. It is important that they do not indulge in development for the sake of self-satisfaction.
"Another important aspect is that future model generations must remain first-class. By that, I mean a car that satisfies the expectations of the person who purchases it. I don't think any car that fails to satisfy those expectations will ever sell successfully. In that sense, the Accord must remain a car that satisfies those expectations to the greatest possible degree."
Accord owners around the world are an important asset to Honda. Therefore, it is the task of future Accord offspring to maintain that asset while continuing to evolve in response to changing customer expectations and maintaining harmony with the times.