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Honda to eliminate hybrid Accord due to poor sales

NEW YORK -- Honda Motor Co. yesterday said it will discontinue the hybrid version of its Accord sedan, citing disappointing sales.

Analysts said that despite the Accord's superior performance compared with some higher-volume competitors, it just doesn't fit with current consumer demands for the smallest, cheapest hybrids with eye-popping fuel economy.

Brian Chee, an analyst with the vehicle research firm, said the Accord's relatively low fuel economy and high price tag compared with other hybrids made it a tough sell.

"It was a pretty perky performance car that was fun to drive, but it was expensive and it was not exactly what people were looking for as far as a hybrid," Chee said. "It was a clean-burning performance vehicle, but people wanted a hybrid with fuel economy."

The hybrid Accord gets an estimated 28 miles to the gallon in the city and starts at about $31,090, while the hybrid version of the company's smaller Civic sedan gets about 49 miles per gallon and starts at about $22,600, according to Honda's website.

Since its debut in 2004, Honda sold a total of 25,000 hybrid Accords, and just 6,100 last year.

In comparison, it has sold more than 153,000 Civic hybrids since they went on sale in 2001.