Will the Accord Soon Pass the Camry in Sales?

By Brendan Moore

11.19.2007

The battle for sales supremacy in the mid-size sedan segment is really heating up lately, with the champion reeling a little bit, and the challenger coming out of his corner revived, and looking for a knockout. I’m speaking, of course about the perennial sales champ of the mid-size sedan segment, the Toyota Camry, and the challenger, the Honda Accord.

2008 Toyota Camry

The Camry has taken a body blow lately from Consumer Reports when that influential consumer magazine took the Camry off its recommended list. Instead of blowing over, the action by Consumer Reports seems to have emboldened other critics of the Camry’s quality issues, as well as the critics of the Camry in general.

The new Honda Accord, on the other hand, was greeted by shouts of hurrah when it debuted recently, with most automotive journalists stating that it has established a new benchmark of excellence in the mid-size segment.

I myself am not impartial in this contest; I have a considerable preference for the new Honda Accord over the Toyota Camry in terms of driving pleasure, whether it’s concerning either the 4-cylinder model or the V6 model in either sedan.

Quality? Honda wins, hands down, from my point of view. It’s not even close.

2008 Honda Accord

From a styling perspective, the four-door sedan models of both cars are amazingly dull to look at, so I’m calling that a tie. However, in their respective coupe models, the Honda Accord Coupe makes the Toyota Camry Solara look downright frumpy.

So, if I’m choosing between the new Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, it’s a short thought process. I’m buying the Honda Accord.

The question for Toyota is how many regular Joes, that is, average consumers, will reach the same conclusion?

There is also the wild card of a new, very strong entrant in this segment called the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu. If the new Malibu gets a considerable increase in sales in this segment over what they were able to get before (and I think they will), do those sales come from people new to the mid-size segment, or do they come from the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry? I think the answer is both, but I don’t know the percentages yet. If the Chevrolet Malibu takes sales from the Toyota Camry at a higher rate than the Honda Accord, and the Accord continues on its current upward sales trend, which is also (partially) at the expense of Camry sales, then there is a very real possibility that the Accord will overtake the Camry late in 2008 or early in 2009.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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7 Comments

  1. The bloom is off the rose for the Camry, I think. Having just driven both cars (Camry/Accord) last week, back-to-back, I don’t see how most people could pick the Camry. In terms of the Malibu, I’ll never know, because I’m not going to any Chevrolet dealership.

    Just in case you’re interested, I bought a new Accord which they’re getting in their next shipment, and I will take delivery in a few weeks.

  2. I’ll check a Malibu, Mazda 6, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima before the Accord. For some reasons

    -the Accord is often the most frequently stolen vehicule in some aeras with the Civic, for those who don’t want to pay a premium insurance….a eye on some alternatives then I previously mentionned is worth to try.

    -the Accord had softened over the years, it’s morphed into more and more a “grand’pa car” compared to the Mazda 6. The Mazda 6 is what the Accord was not too far ago. Also, we have to check the current demography buyers of the Accord, because if some Camry buyers (the majority of the buyers age is around and over 60 years old) buy a Accord. That’ll give the image of “grand’pa car” however on the other hand, it can lower the insurance prices.

    And Honda who preach for being efficient, when I check the last Accord, it’s now “bigger, longer, wider”. I begin to question some of their philoshopies since they joinned the parade of “bigger, longer, wider”. There a interesting post on True Delta blog. Honda practice very well the “Do as I said, not as I do” mantra. With its wheelbase of 110″, 2 more inches then the 1978-87 GM RWD G-body (Olds Cutlass, Chev Malibu/Monte Carlo, Buick Regal, Pontiac LeMans/1982-86Bonneville/Grand Prix) and 2 inches less then 1978-89 Chrysler M-body (Dodge Diplomat, Chrysler Le Baron/Fifth Avenue, Plymouth Gran Fury). Will the next-gen Accord planned for 2013-2014, if the economic context will allow it, going bigger as the Ford Taurus, Crown Victoria, 1977-96 GM B-body Caprice/Impala?

  3. Though I’m a Toyota man myself, I wouldn’t think twice about choosing the Accord over the Camry.

  4. Stephane – those are all good cars, but the sales contest is between the Accord and the Camry. Everyone else is pretty far behind. I wouldn’t buy an Accord or a Camry either if I was in this segment, but that’s where the battle is; between those two.

  5. I chose the Accord over the Camry in fall 2003 and couldn’t be happier with my selection. I prefer it in nearly every category to the Camry.

    Now that I’m (ugh) in the market for a minivan, I’m leaning toward the Odyssey over the Sienna as well (though the Sienna offers optional AWD and the Odyssey does not).

  6. I don’t see how the Accord cannot pass the Camry. It’s so clearly better that you would have to be completely oblivious not to notice.

  7. You’ve got to be kidding! The Hon-duh is butt ugly. The Camry is beautiful compared to the Accord. If you’re comparing quality, everybody I know that has Hon-duhs is having quality issues. I really don’t see why so many people buy Accords. People’s perception of Hon-duh in the U.S. is much different than reality. Worldwide, Toyota outsells Honda tremendously, including Japan.

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