I wasn’t all that impressed by the all-new 2012 Honda Civic during a recent test drive, and it seems pretty clear that many potential customers share my opinion. Sales of the car were down 26.4 percent last month, and this can’t be pinned solely on Honda’s struggles to get back on track after the spring disasters in Japan or, at this stage, low supplies as production of the car ramps up. More significant right now is the overall industry momentum on the truck side of the business. While there’s no getting around the Civic’s disappointing sales numbers or the fact that Honda Accord sales continued to evaporate last month, with another 13.8 percent year-over-year drop in deliveries, you can see the company’s key crossover were both in the black. The Honda Pilot rang up a 27.9 percent sales jump in the previous month, with the Honda CR-V—despite being right at the end of its life cycle—netted a monthly sales gain of 9.5 percent.
On ye olde other hand, while one might expect sales of the new Civic to slip in this kind of industry environment, who’d have thunk they’d fall twice as fast as the Accord’s did last month?
Plus, the Civic’s sales retreat was the worst of any mainstream compact. Two notable vehicles, the Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus, were close to the Honda’s mark, with sales slipping by 23.3 percent for the former and 24.1 percent for the latter, but both members of this pair are dragging along the kind of burdens the Civic doesn’t have to deal with. The Corolla is simply an old car battling against much newer rivals, and the Focus is dealing with growing fallout from owners unhappy with its PowerShift transmission and MyFord Touch system.
But there also may be another interesting-ish reason behind the Civic’s recent performance—according to data from CNW Marketing, a surprising number of customers are cross-shopping it against midsize sedans.