American Honda CEO unsatisfied with Accord sales

NEW YORK Thu Apr 5, 2012 4:39am IST

The Honda Accord plug in hybrid concept car is displayed on the final press preview day for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 10, 2012. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/Files

The Honda Accord plug in hybrid concept car is displayed on the final press preview day for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Rebecca Cook/Files

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - March sales of the flagship Honda Accord were "not satisfactory," but the company is working through the inventory problems that led to an unexpected slump, executives said at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday.

U.S. consumers bought 26,771 Accords last month, down from 31,533 vehicles a year ago. Total group sales were down 7.7 percent year-over-year to 115,833, American Honda said earlier this week.

"We are not satisfied with that," said American Honda President and Chief Executive Tetsuo Iwamura, noting the Accord was outsold by both the Toyota Camry and the Nissan Altima last month.

The company is still working through problems stemming from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which disrupted production.

"We're still suffering the inventory issues associated with the disaster," marketing executive Mike Accavitti said.

Iwamura said total inventories were improving quite well but distribution of vehicles among dealerships was "kind of a problem at this moment."

He said the Accord sales slump was caused by a shortage of some popular models but that a new model in the fall would help improve Accord sales.

(Reporting By Nick Zieminski in New York, editing by M.D. Golan)

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