Honda Breaks Stride, Delays Civic Redesign

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
honda breaks stride delays civic redesign

Honda hasn’t always replaced its bread-and-butter compact, the Civic, every five years. The Mk.1 Civic soldiered from 1972 until 1979. The second through fifth generations were replaced on a regular four-year schedule, before Honda settled into a five-year product cadence with the sixth generation (1996-2000). If it were to keep with that cadence, we’d be seeing a ninth-generation Civic sometime this year, replacing the Mk.VIII, which debuted in late 2005. According to Automotive News [sub], however, Honda is holding off on releasing a new Civic until 2011. What gives?

American Honda’s Executive VP John Mendel explains… sort of:

In general, we are not changing cycles. We change vehicles as need be. The ability to do something based on more current information is better than waiting a full model cycle. Some of that is being able to have the opportunity to change [based on] what you see happening in the marketplace.

But behind the confused corporate jibber-jabber lies a far more reassuring sign: according to Honda’s COO Tsuneo Tanai, the Mk.IX Civic was supposed to be larger than the current model, but was redesigned to be close to the current model’s size “mid-stream,” causing the delay. Breaking product cadence might seem a bit un-Honda, but its vehicles were also growing to distinctly un-Honda-like sizes as well. Sometimes you have to break one tradition to bring back another.

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  • Mtymsi Mtymsi on May 18, 2010

    If I'm not mistaken the Civic is not only the #1 seller in its segment it's also the best selling car in the country or second best. At that rate a one year delay for the new one shouldn't be much of a problem. To each his own but I've always thought the current model was ugly, not that I wouldn't buy one but the styling to me is a big negative. Honda needs to remember in the case of the Civic the reason so many people buy them is they want a car that size not a larger one.

  • Stencha Klaus Stencha Klaus on May 18, 2010

    I was going to trade my 2005 Civic sedan on a 2009 Civic sedan last year but found the following design problems: -new dash layout is stupid, simple analog is best -loss of headroom particularly in rear (6'2" yet comfortable in rear of 2005 but couldn't straighten up in 2009) -prefer roll down windows and less gadgets -weak braking on 2009 (severe fading) -new engine and transmission seem whiney and hard shifting I think a re-design closer in size to the 2001-2005 era's size would suit most buyer's better.

    • Equinox Equinox on May 18, 2010

      Guess it's different for each person. I find it a lot easier to keep track of speed on the digital display. I never have sat in the rear seats of my car so it doesnt matter. And honestly, the K20Z3 engine and the transmission is one of the smoothest I have seen!!

  • Tced2 Tced2 on May 18, 2010

    How about just coming out with a new Civic that is same size but weighs less? for better fuel economy, better handling, performance. Next thing we'll be hearing is that it needs a V6. Like the TSX, adding a V6 adds weight and spoils handling. Acura had a perfectly good V6 car already - the TL. Make new models lighter.

    • See 3 previous
    • Bancho Bancho on May 18, 2010

      @tced2: I think you may have missed the joke in srogers post. He threw just about every buzzword out there except 'wagon".

  • Tosh Tosh on May 18, 2010

    Nobody sees the Civic delay as a reaction to the underwhelming new Insight?