The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is proving unexpectedly popular, both in Japan and the U.S., and that's causing supply challenges for Honda.
Two readers have contacted us in the last week to complain that they were unable to purchase the new Accord Hybrid, which Green Car Reports named its 2014 Best Car To Buy.
From reader Bill Harris of Austin, Texas:
I test drove a 2014 Accord Hybrid on November 1. It's now November 20, and the car I drove (the only one they have) is still not for sale. They're apparently not for sale anywhere, based on what I can find through online inventory. The salesman told me tonight that Honda was looking at "late January, early February" before they could actually sell them. Very frustrating.
And also from reader Vicki Putz:
A customer representative at Honda told me only 1,500 Accord Hybrids are available through Dec 31. I called to inquire because on October 31, dealers in Massachusetts were telling me they didn't have it and didn't know when they were getting it. The representative was unequivocal and said he had no further information, including when more stock would be available.
I have been trying to buy the Accord Hybrid Touring model for the last several weeks, through several dealers. A major dealer in New England (multiple dealerships) attempted to order one and Honda didn't "allow" the order. The dealer is only aware that they will get two more cars after already receiving one (an EX-L), and are unaware what model or color they will receive until close to delivery date (also unknown until days ahead). Another dealer had one and sold it (while I was en route to see it)--and also stated they knew of no others coming. The third dealer never responded to my request.
So we reached out to Honda to find out what's really going on with 2014 Accord Hybrid supplies and sales.
2014 Honda Accord Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Nov 2013Enlarge Photo
Honda's Angie Nucci responded: "The Honda Accord Hybrid was a rolling release, meaning we did not build up inventory before putting it on sale."
"We are ramping up production," Nucci said, "and we ask for our customers' patience and understanding until availability increases early next year."
In further discussions with Honda's Steve Kinkade, we learned that (like most hybrids) the supply of batteries, electric motors, power electronics, and other components unique to the Accord Hybrid (and its Accord Plug-In Hybrid sibling) is not unlimited.
And, Kinkade said, the demand for the hybrid Accord in Japan has been extraordinary--higher than Honda had expected--and so the company is faced with the painful dilemma of having to starve one market to supply another.
As Honda notes, it is ramping up production of the hybrid Accord.
With luck, the inventory should be better within a few months.
So to Bill, Vicki, and the other readers as impressed with the Accord Hybrid as we were, the answer seems to be: It's coming. Be patient.
Can you get your old car to hold out another three to six months?