Honda Rebound Aided as Consumer Reports Recommends Accord

Honda Motor Co. (7267), stung by Consumer Reports’ withering review of its Civic small car last year, got a positive judgment for the revamped 2013 Accord that the magazine said ranks among the market’s best midsize cars.

Among 4-cylinder engine sedans, the new Accord that went on sale in September tops Hyundai Motor Co. (005380)’s Sonata and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s Camry, the Yonkers, New York-based magazine said in a statement today. That version and the V-6 engine Accord both earned the recommended status that eluded the 2012 Civic.

“Honda missed the mark with other redesigned models in recent years, but it nailed this one,” Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Center, said in the statement. The mix of interior room, high fuel economy, ride and handling, features and price underpin Accord’s appeal, the magazine said.

The upbeat assessment of Honda’s top-selling vehicle by the magazine that calls itself the world’s largest independent product-testing organization coincides with a rebound for the carmaker in its biggest market. Along with the unfavorable Civic review, 2011’s natural disasters in Asia slowed Honda production for months and led to a 6.8 percent U.S. sales decline last year. Through November, the Tokyo-based company’s sales rebounded 24 percent.

Modified Civic

Honda in November released its modified 2013 Civic, with a restyled interior, new front hood and grille, new rear taillights, quieter cabin, and strengthened front-end to boost crash safety to address the 2012 car’s shortcomings.

The new version of the best-selling U.S. small car is a “major improvement,” Fisher said in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month, without elaborating prior to the magazine’s review.

Consumer Reports’ review of the new Accord appears today on ConsumerReports.org and in the January issue of the magazine to be published Dec. 27.

Honda’s U.S. unit is based in Torrance, California. The company’s American depositary receipts gained 2.8 percent to $34.91 at the close in New York. They’ve risen 14 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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