Although wagons get their fair share of ribbing on TTAC (mostly to poke fun at the absurd declarations of arm chair product planners), the Honda Civic is yet another product that we won’t get here due to the business case not making sense. What makes it worse is that unlike, say, the Mazda6 wagon, the compact segment already has a few hatchback/wagon entrants available in North America.
The Civic Tourer, as it’s known, will go up against the upcoming VW Golf Wagon (sold here as the Jetta SportWagen) and the Ford Focus Estate (not sold here). The European Civic shares a name with the North American version and little else. And yes, it will have a diesel engine and a manual gearbox available.
Why lampoon the Mazda6 wagon and praise the Civic wagon? Surely, we must be biased. After all, that’s the default answer for any unfavorable analysis at TTAC. But it’s important to note that not all wagons, and their business cases, are created equal. The Mazda6 wagon is produced in Japan by Mazda, and an unfavorable exchange rate, capacity constraints and the prohibitive cost of federalization make the business case for the wagon a non-starter.
So what about the Civic? Why can’t Honda do it if Hyundai can import the European i30 as the Elantra GT? For one thing, the Elantra GT is built in the Czech Republic, where labor costs are far lower than Japan and the UK, where the Civic Tourer is likely to be built. The i30 was also designed to be sold globally from the get-go. The Civic, unfortunately, has been thoroughly localized, meaning this car has been designed with the European market in mind, and it’s unlikely to leave any time soon. Once the most well known compact hatchback, Honda hasn’t fielded a two box Civic in years, ceding the market to Hyundai, Ford, Toyota and just about everyone else. What a shame. This Tourer is so much more attractive than the rest of Honda’s small car lineup.