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After a rough 2011, Honda says it’s back

Heather Rutz, The Lima News, Ohio –

DETROIT — Honda unveiled an Accord coupe concept Tuesday at the North American International Auto Show and introduced a host of new technologies for the 2013 Accord, available to consumers this fall.

The coupe concept features an athletic and muscular styling, company officials said Tuesday at the auto show. Both the coupe and sedan are expected to achieve class-leading fuel economy ratings.

The 2013 Accord sedan will offer more standard equipment compared to the current model, including standard Bluetooth hands-free phone interface. The car will feature three new powertrains, including the first of what Honda calls its Earth Dreams engine. The car will be available with a gasoline, gasoline-electric hybrid and all-electric engines.

The company is attempting to recover from a tough 2011, beset by an earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

“We’re here to serve notice to the competition that Honda is again firing on all cylinders,” said John Mendel, Honda’s top sales executive in North America, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

The company’s production reduction and drop in sales in 2011 was an aberration, not a trend, Mendel said.

“We’re back to full power and we are again racing with a vengeance,” he said.

The Accord is assembled in Marysville, but the company is not yet saying where the plug-in version will be built, The Dispatch reported. The production version of the 2013 model-year vehicle will go on sale this fall in coupe and sedan versions. The plug-in model will follow a few months later.

This year marks the 30th year of U.S. production for Honda. It began with the first Accord off the Marysville assembly line Nov. 1, 1982, and was the first Japanese nameplate car assembled in the United States. Honda officials celebrated the anniversary Tuesday during the news conference; that first car, on loan from the Henry Ford Museum, is at Honda’s display for the auto show.

On Monday, Acura unveiled three new vehicles at the show, including the new ILX luxury sedan, the NSX concept supercar and the new RDX luxury sport utility vehicle. The company also said the redesigned RDX will move to the East Liberty Honda plant. The RDX had been built at Honda’s Marysville assembly plant.

The new RDX will have a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and new six-speed transmission to deliver more horsepower and better fuel economy. The vehicle is redesigned from a sporty, compact SUV to a more formal look.

Honda previously unveiled a redesigned CR-V sport utility vehicle at the Los Angeles auto show.

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