2013 Accord Concept Introduction Press Conference Remarks by John Mendel, Executive Vice President, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

January 10, 2012


Good morning and thank you all for joining us here today.   It's been an exciting Show already,  and we hope to add to that this morning.

special way to the reason we're  here today which is the coming launch of an all-new, 9th-generation Honda Accord.   The production version of the all-new 2013 Accordwill be hitting  the market around the same time as  we celebrate an important milestone  in the history of Honda and the Accord    the 30th anniversary of the start of  automobile production in the U.S. 

Think about this number since it was introduced in 1976, we have sold more than 11 million  Accords in America

and more than 8 million of them  have been built in America as well.

As you might have noticed, we've got the very first of the species U.S.-made Accord VIN number 001 on display here today. 

And I want to say thank you to the folks from  The Henry Ford in Dearborn.

It's on permanent loan there so we thank them for letting us  borrow it back for a few days.

The star of our show today is an Accord concept model but before we get to that, let me speak to the positive momentum leading to the launch of this new model.

To say that the past year has been  one of incredible challenge is a gross understatement. 

2011 was a year that saw our company weather two  devastating natural disasters that severely disrupted our global supply chain.

Some automakers have pointed to our reduced sales last year  ...including lower Accord sales... as if it were some kind of sales trend...

...When the reality is... we had to cut more than 200-thousand units from our production schedule.   And we still topped one million  units in sales for the year. 

Many of our competitors were enjoying a race with Honda  running at half-throttle and they temporarily picked up a lap or two in the process...  ...while we were in the pits.

But we have returned to full production with a  strengthening product lineup  including.... • the all-new CR-V and Civic, • a freshened and more fuel-efficient Pilot,

• a benchmark Odyssey minivan, • a new 4-cylinder version of  Crosstour that debuts this month  and later this year... • an all-new Accord. 

And with all of this backed up by the industry's best quality ratings we're here to serve notice to the competition that Honda is firing on all cylinders again. 

We're back to full power and we're again racing with a vengeance.

Of course, being the first U.S.-made car from a Japanese automaker is nowhere near Accord's only claim to fame.

For 30 years and through eight generations, Accord has consistently set the  benchmark for... • fuel-efficiency, • low emissions, • safety ...and... • the best overall balance of comfort, features, packaging and fun-to-drive performance in the mid-size segment. 

It's the reason why despite year after year of  competitors taking aim Accordhas earned an  unprecedented 26 Car and Driver ten-best awards.   That's a crazy good record no other brand can claim.

This new 9th generation Accord  will raise the bar again in part through a tour de force of new Honda powertrain and safety technologies       

... all geared to ensure that Honda and Accord continue to be leaders in fuel economy, safety and fun-to-drive performance.

Arriving this fall, Accordwill be the first U.S. vehicle to apply our new Earth Dreams powertrain technology.

This is the series of new engines  and transmissions we debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show late last year that will ultimately replace every  powertrain in our lineup.

These new engines completely re-envision the structure of Honda'slegendary VTEC technology for more  efficient combustion and reduced friction. 

The bottom line is engines that  achieve both outstanding fuel  efficiency and high output for clean  and fun driving performance.

... Fuel economy, up performance, up Fun, up.

And with this new Earth Dreams technology, we're aiming to achieve best-in-class fuel economy in every segment in which we compete within the next three years starting with Accord.

The all-new Accord will boast    three new powertrains including the first application in the U.S. of our new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with direct injection that you see to my right  ... delivering a significant boost in performance including additional    horsepower and an increase in midrange torque. 

And the 4-cylinder Accord will also get a 6 speed manual  and an all-new continuously variable transmission CVT that will be the best system  in the marketplace in terms of efficiency, performance and sporty driving feel.   None of the "rubber band" feeling  most CVTs are known for and coupled with the new engine it will help achieve class leading fuel economy.

Meanwhile, the V6 Accord Sedan  and Coupe will increase  horsepower and torque while being paired with a new 6-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual version. 

And with the 6-speed automatic, both the sedan and coupe models  are estimated to achieve class leading fuel economy.

Further, Accord will become the 5th Honda model with the Eco-Assist function and ECO button to help our customers with a practical approach to improve their own fuel efficient  driving habits. 

But that's not the end of the  powertrain technology story. 

The 2013 Accord lineup will see  the introduction of Honda's first Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle utilizing our all-new two-motor hybrid system which continuously moves  through three different modes to maximize driving efficiency... • all-electric, • gasoline-electric ...and ... • a direct-drive mode. 

The Plug-In Hybrid Accord will travel up to 15 miles on electric  power alone, with the driver able to control when  the vehicle operates in all-electric mode. 

If your commute starts on the highway, for example, the driver can decide not to switch  to all-electric power until entering city traffic, where the technology has the  greatest benefit to fuel economy. 

And fully recharging the battery will  take less than one and a half hours  using a 240-volt charger.

With the Accord Plug-In we will  continue to grow our diverse lineup  of advanced alternative-fuel  vehicles, which includes: • the Civic Natural Gas • the CR-Z, • Insight and Civic hybrids, • the Plug-in Hybrid Accord, • the Fit EV and... •  the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric car.

There's so much more we have to  tell you about this new Accord,  which heralds our strategy for further advancing the Clean, Safe and Fun values of Honda. 

But maybe it's time we showed you  what we're talking about.

So here it is the cleaner, safer and unquestionably more fun     2013 Accord Coupe Concept.

With its athletic styling including... • the 4-sided honeycomb grille,  • rear taillights that sweep  a ggressively into the body .. and... • large exhaust finishers integrated  into the bumper the 2013 Accord Coupe  Concept gives you a strong glimpse  of the direction for the all-new Accord lineup  coming this fall.

The Accord has been consistently rated as the most fun-to-drive mid-size car and this all-new model will take that bar and raise it higher. 

New packaging that delivers on the  Man Maximum, Machine Minimum  philosophy of Honda design will give the 2013 Accord Sedan • a shortened overall length...  • a significant reduction in weight ...and ... • lower vehicle height to achieve a new level of efficiency,  more nimble handling and improved  driving dynamics.

Believe me; the new Accord will live up to our mission to deliver new products that are  unquestionably fun-to-own and fun-to-drive. 

And even with the more compact  exterior design and lower roofline Accord will boast the same  sizable interior space as the current Accord.

Of course, the new Accord is built  upon the foundation of the best  quality reputation in the industry. 

In 2011, Honda posted  the most dominant performance in the history of the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

with Honda finishing as the top mainstream brand in the industry supported by seven of 11 segment-leading products, including Accord.   According to the same study, four of the top five assembly lines in  the Americas were at Honda plants  including both lines at the  Marysville, Ohio plant that builds Accord.

But the advanced technology  coming to the all-new Accord line is not limited to powertrain. 

With the new Accord, we will introduce a wave of new  technologies aimed at enhancing  driver visibility and industry-leading safety of Honda vehicles. 

Our approach to styling Accord  has always included a focus on  substantial Greenhouse visibilty, something customers have  continuously told us they love about  Accord's styling.

In spite of the bold and aggressive styling, we haven't compromised on this principle.

In fact, we are expanding it.

For instance, we'll be making the expanded-view  driver's mirror that we debuted on  our new CR-V last month...  ....as standard equipment on every  new model in our lineup in the coming years. 

Also, you'll see the application of  rear view back-up cameras which are already standard  on our trucks... expanded to all of our products in  the future starting with the new Accord. 

And all NAVI-equipped models will be getting the multi-angle back  up camera that we debuted on the new CR-V.

In addition, the 2013 Accord will get a new, Honda-exclusive blind spot display  we will call "Honda Lane Watch." 

With a camera mounted in the  passenger side-view mirror, ... the driver can use the display to identify vehicles in their blind  spot through real-time video without the risk of false warnings  found in some other systems.

And Accord will be the only  vehicle in its class to make this  feature available. 

And, finally, let's talk about safety. 

Last month, the IIHS gave a 'Top Safety Pick'  rating to ten additional models from  American Honda, giving us a total of 12 with top-class IIHS safety ratings. 

Of course, the current Accord is on the list   as one of the first vehicles in the  industry to earn this distinction. 

But we aren't stopping there.

In the area of collision avoidance, we will be deploying two additional  ew technologies • forward collision warning ...and... • lane departure warning that will be applied across every model in our lineup in the years to come ...starting as an available  technology on the new Accord. 

Both systems use a digital camera  mounted behind the windshield to  monitor the roadway in front of the driver ... ....and warnthe driver of changing  traffic conditions in front of them or to alert the driver if the car is moving out of its intended lane.

And again starting this fall with  the new Accord we'll begin applying new  ejection mitigation airbag  technology with a wider  deployment profile of the side  curtain airbag.  

We are doing this a full two years in  advance of new safety regulations  going into effect in 2015.

So we're serious about our  commitment to continue to deliver  products that are cleaner, safer ....and even more fun than ever before. 

And we're doing it with leading-edge technologies applied  broadly to our product lineup.

As you can see along with a compelling safety, fuel economy, and value story

Honda's fundamental commitment  to performance is alive and well.

And our number one priority going  forward is to make products that  our customers want to drive products that measure up to the  very high standards and  expectations that they have for Honda.

It's going to be an exciting year  and a very competitive race. 

And we're happy to be re-joining  that race at full strength. 

So stay tuned. 

Thanks for your time and attention  this morning. 

And now I invite you to join me on  stage for a closer look at the all-new 2013 Accord Coupe Concept.

Have a great final day at the show!

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