All-New 2012 Honda Civic Set for Spring 2011 Debut
2012 Honda Civic Concept
2011 Honda Civic Si Coupe
The public got its first peek at the next-generation version of one of America's best-selling vehicles recently when Honda revealed a sketch of a new concept car that sets the tone for the completely redesigned 2012 Honda Civic. The show vehicle itself, called the Civic Concept, is set to make its first appearance at the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. According to the automaker, the "sleek and aerodynamic" concept will be the basis of the all-new production Civic, a car that is slated to go on sale in the spring of 2011.
The new Civic comes at an ideal time for the automaker: Honda has focused a lot of its resources on new hybrid models like the Honda Insight and Honda CR-Z, but a combination of factors'”particularly low fuel prices that are depressing sales of hybrids across the industry'”has led to notable sales struggles for this pair of products. The Insight's sales have stayed relatively flat this year, achieving a 2.4 percent sales increase through November that is well off the pace of the overall industry. The CR-Z, in its first year on the market, sold just 1,024 units in November.
The automaker's other key 2010 introduction, the new 2011 Honda Odyssey minivan, has fared better, with sales up notably over the previous model, but the core of Honda's lineup has seen the kind of sales one would expect from vehicles at the end of their life cycle. The number of customers buying a Honda Accord is up 6.9 percent on a year-to-date basis, while the Civic is dealing with a 1.9 percent decrease in sales through November.
The latter remains the fifth-best-selling vehicle in the U.S., with 231,955 customers taking one home in the first 11 months of the year, but keeping up that kind of volume with an older vehicle, in a segment that's about to become much more competitive, would have been a tough challenge. And this is especially the case considering the recent jump in fuel efficiency shown by the latest entries in the compact class.
While today's Civic can attain EPA ratings of up to 36-mpg highway, the all-new Chevrolet Cruze can get up to 42-mpg, the completely redesigned Hyundai Elantra can hit 40-mpg and the soon-to-launch 2012 Ford Focus is expected to reach that mark as well. It's not often that Honda finds itself playing catch up, but that's clearly the case in the compact segment today.
Observers can start gauging the quality of Honda's response beginning January 15, when the NAIAS opens to the public.