Despite somewhat tepid sales of the current generation Honda Civic, registering an average of just 130 sales per month for the first four months of this year, Honda Australia is boldly confident that the new sedan, on sale from the end of June, will be capable of 800 sales per month.
That’s before the new five-door hatch variant arrives in the first half of 2017 – a bold target given Australia’s preference for hatchbacks, and a figure that will result in a 14 percent market share in the small car segment.
Honda Civic Hatch Prototype
Honda Civic Hatch Prototype
If successful, the new Civic will outstrip the sales of cars such as the Mitsubishi Lancer, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Subaru Impreza, and Nissan Pulsar, which is itself making the switch to sedan-only status.
Honda Australia Director, Stephen Collins referred to the new Civic as “Probably the most important car in history” for the brand, with sales targets putting it just behind the run-away success of Honda’s HR-V compact SUV.
Already Honda Australia holds 200 pre-orders for the new sedan, with an 350 orders expected to be clocked by the end of the month.
“This will be our best pre-sale ever, outperforming pre-orders for other models, including the likes of S2000,” Mr. Collins said. “We know the Civic has really struck a chord with existing owners and prospective customers looking for premium quality in a contemporary package.”
For the first time since the seventh-generation Civic of 2001 the Civic hatch and sedan will follow the same styling, and in Honda Australia’s case, will be produced at the same factory, unlike the eighth- and ninth-generation cars which were sourced out of the UK and Thailand for hatch and sedan respectively.
To cap off the range, Honda will also introduce a new Civic Type-R hot hatch powered by a variation of the 228kW/400Nm 2.0 litre turbocharged engine found in the current Type-R, (which isn’t offered for sale in Australia) and sourced out of the UK.
Honda forecasts that, initially at least, the 1.8 litre VTi and VTi-S will make up 50 percent of sales, with the turbocharged 1.5 litre VTi-L, RS, and VTi-LX set to balance out the rest of the sales split.
“Early adopters generally like cars that have a strong standard equipment list and the features in RS and VTi-LX are particularly competitive in the segment,” Mr Collins said.
Buyers hoping to buy Civic with a manual transmission however will be forced to wait for the Type-R, with Honda’s Prachinburi factory in Thailand building the new Civic range with automatic transmissions only.
A segment demand for manual of 13 percent and falling year-on-year helped Honda to make the decision to go without a three-pedal variant, which would’ve required sourcing from another of Honda’s international Civic factories.
“This has not posed a problem for us whatsoever with HR-V, not having a manual transmission, so we consider the same will apply for Civic,” said Mr Collins. “This will be our best pre-sale ever, outperforming pre-orders for other models, including the likes of S2000”