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Honda believes new Accord will reclaim mid-size title

State and community leaders joined Marysville Auto Plant workers Monday to celebrate the production launch of the ninth-generation Honda Accord, a car the automaker believes will reclaim the title as the best selling mid-size car.

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ABOVE: Members of the Japanese press, Honda associates and community leaders mill about the 2013 Accord during Monday’s reception. Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. kicked off production of the ninth generation Accord on Monday.  BELOW: Gov. John Kasich visits with Marysville Auto Plant associates prior to Monday’s ceremony marking the production start. The automaker also celebrated the 30th year of producing cars at the plant. FRONT PAGE: Gov. Kasich, left, and HAM President and Chief Executive Officer Hide Iwata prepare to shake hands Monday at the end of the ceremony. To the left, is the first 1982 Accord to roll off the line. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | JOEL E. MAST)

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“This new Accord is a game changer,” said Bert Lindsay who owns a Columbus dealership. “We’re going to dominate the mid-size market.”

Project Leader Mike Fischer said the input of sales, design, engineering and production have produced a dynamic car that is fuel efficient, yet fun to drive.

“I could talk for a couple hours about the new features in the 2013 Accord,” he said during a reception for community leaders and the press. “But they only gave me 15 minutes.

“It is something I’m personally proud of and I believe it will be well received in the market.”

Gov. John Kasich joined the festivities and he had high praise for Honda of America Manufacturing Inc.

“I love Honda,” he said. “There are 13,500 families in Ohio that are better off because of Honda.

“They’ve invested $8 billion in Ohio and when they need to grow, they don’t ask for anything. They just say, ‘We’ll do it on our own.’ ”

Afterward, he said Honda is an example of the advanced manufacturing occurring in the state.

The event also marked the 30th anniversary of auto production in Ohio.

HAM President and Chief Executive Officer Hide Iwata congratulated the associates for overcoming the difficulties of 2011’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the flooding in Thailand and getting the Accord ready for the market.

“Many people doubted if Honda could survive. Many doubted if we could recover,” he said.

“This new Accord excels in all areas, and it’s being built in a plant that excels in all areas.”

Honda is releasing few details about the new generation as it rolls out the car to international media prior to going on sale next month.

Monday, officials said it is smaller on the outside, but with more interior room. It also features a seamless one-piece instrument panel and host of new technology. Even the base LX model will have a rearview camera and expanded driver’s mirror view.

Other models will offer lane watch technology to cover passenger side blind spots, lane departure warning and forward collision warning. A host of connectivity options also will be available.

Pricing has not yet been released, but spokesman Ron Lietzke said it will be competitive in the market segment.

The new model will come in a sedan, coupe and later in hybrid versions. Power train options will include a direct-injection four-cylinder and a V-6.

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