Honda Civic: Too Big In Japan?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
honda civic too big in japan

The Wall Street Journa l [sub] reports that, after selling a mere 9,000 units last year, the Honda Civic will be retired from the Japanese market. For perspective, the Civic sold 609,000 units worldwide last year. According to the report

Sales of the Civic in Japan reached their largest annual volume of 177,000 vehicles in 1975, accounting for 71% of the company’s overall domestic sales that year.

What happened to the Civic? For one thing, it got bigger… and Japan didn’t. The 2011 Civic is 32 inches longer than the big-in-Japan 1975 model and weighs nearly twice as much (1,495 lbs in 1975, 2,630-2,830 lbs today). And by the looks of things (above), the forthcoming Civic refresh isn’t going to bring a whole lot to the table either, besides a corporate grille. There’s been a lot of chatter of late about Honda and its loss of “mojo”… the fact that the Civic has lost relevance in the Japanese market shows just how far Honda has come from its roots. No wonder a little mojo was lost along the way.

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  • Ctowne Ctowne on Nov 16, 2010

    The Fit is a fantastic vehicle. It's a veritable swiss army knife of utility, is wonderfully cheap to own/operate, and is a lot of fun to drive on curvy roads. Eager engine, even if it's light on power, it's adequate, and considering that the Fit isn't a sports car, it acquits itself very well on the highways and byways. The new Odyssey is also quite interesting. Considering how much i don't like the other vans on the market, it seems like a solid bet to do well also.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Nov 16, 2010

    the only problem with the fit is that it's plug ugly.

    I second and third what others have said about acura dropping the integer. if they still made it, I'd buy it.

  • Demetri Demetri on Nov 16, 2010

    We need to clarify that it's only the sedan model of the Civic that is being dropped in Japan. They're still going to sell a hatchback.

  • Changsta Changsta on Nov 16, 2010

    I think that Honda's are generally very competitive, but they have lost the qualities that used to make Hondas stand out in the past. It is inexcusable for Hyundai's and Ford's to have technology in their 4-cylinder engines that Honda does not offer. Honda used to be a leader in introducing new technologies, and now, they are simply following. The increased bloat with their vehicles is also of concern, and I would argue that the only vehicle in the line up that has escaped this is the CR-V. It still only offers a 4-cylinder engine and is relatively small for the class, but makes great use of the available room. If Honda wants to succeed, they need to figure out a cohesive (and ATTRACTIVE) design language, invest in engine development, and add more sound deadening to their cars! The cars on the market right now are noticeably louder than their competitors, and can become tiring on long highway drives.