Honda Australia today previewed the all-new Civic range by whipping the covers from a sedan model.
Although too early to reveal local prices and specification detail, Honda Australia Director Stephen Collins said: “I’m not going to claim we’ll knock-off (Toyota) Corolla or Mazda3 – because we only sell to private buyers and not heavily discounted fleets – but we want a double-digit market share amongst private buyers and that will certainly put us amongst the segment leaders.”
Mr Collins added that the success of Mazda3 proved local small car buyers are not just driven by the lowest-priced model.
We can expect to see the latest Civic range to commence its Australian roll-out in May, with the good-looking sedan variant the first to launch.
Expect the hatchback version in the first half of next year, while the “still-to-be-confirmed” high-performance Civic Type R five-door hatchback won’t arrive until late 2017, if we’re to get it.
Should the Type R get the green light here, Honda Australia expects it to be sourced from Honda’s plant in Swindon, England, while all other Civic versions for us will be manufactured at the company’s new plant outside Bangkok, Thailand.
Power for the Civic range will come from a new derivative of the current naturally-aspirated 1.8-litre engine (fettled for improve fuel consumption) or a new turbocharged 1.5-litre powerplant.
There are no plans for a Honda Civic diesel and both the 2.0-litre petrol engine as well as the stylish Civic coupe remain exclusive to the North American market.
As part of its brand rebuilding, Honda Australia’s five-model strategy is to broaden the reach of the all-new Civic range.
Top of the totem pole will be the Type R, next rung sees the luxuriously appointed Si model and then there is a new derivative called RS.
Both sedan and hatchback models will be available in identical model ranges with identical specifications.
Honda Australia’s communications boss Scott McGregor explained the Civic RS should not be compared with rival models wearing the same badge.
“Clearly the Civic Type R will be our competitor for the Ford Focus RS,” Mr McGregor revealed. “The Civic RS (however) is a style variant which will target younger buyers.”
The rip-snorting Honda Civic Type R of course will remain the ‘real deal’ – a genuine hot hatchback and more than a ‘badge and stickers’ job. Honda Australia is on a mission to lower the average age of its buyers which is currently skewed to a more mature crowd.
And, as the leading sales country in the growing Asia-Oceania region, for the first time Honda Australia and its National Dealer Council have worked closely with the new product team in Japan to develop the all-new Civic for local buyers.
In fact the blue paint colour of the sedan model Civic Honda unveiled today was not part of the original range and was included at the behest of Honda Australia and its dealers.
Watch this space for more news to come on the all-new Civic range.