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Honda dropping Accord Hybrid

Next generation Accord will not have hybrid version, diesel option possible.

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The new Honda Accord, which will go on sale in September, will not be available in a gasoline-electric hybrid version, according to a company spokesman.

"We have found that our hybrid system works better on smaller cars," said Chris Naughton, a Honda spokesman.

Honda previously announced that it will introduce a new hybrid car in 2009. That car will be smaller in size and less expensive than the Honda Civic Hybrid. The Accord, a midsized car, is larger and more expensive than the Civic.

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Honda currently makes a hybrid version of the Accord that's engineered to provide a balance of performance and fuel economy, using a 6-cylinder gasoline engine rather than a smaller 4-cylinder engine.

The competing Toyota Camry Hybrid uses a four-cylinder engine resulting in considerably better fuel economy than the Accord Hybrid.

Hybrid cars use electric motors to supplement power from the gasoline, resulting in improved fuel economy.

Hybrids accounted for 14 percent of Camrys sold last month, but just 1.4 percent of Accords, according to data from Power Information Networks, an auto research firm. The Accord and Camry are the two best-selling passenger cars in the United States.

"We have seen that what interests hybrid consumers is ultimate fuel economy," Naughton said.

Honda has previously said it will introduce a new 4-cylinder diesel engine in the United States by 2009. Diesel engines get considerably better fuel economy than gasoline engines without the technical complexity of gasoline-electric hybrid systems.

With cleaner diesel fuel available here, allowing engines to meet strict emissions requirements, diesel cars will become more widely available in this country in coming years.

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Honda has not said whether the Accord would get the diesel engine. The European version of the Accord - a car sold in the United States as the Acura TSX - is available in Europe with a diesel engine.

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