NAIAS: 2012 Honda Civic "Concept"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
naias 2012 honda civic concept

Having earned its place in the American market by launching focused products at its biggest segments, Honda’s 2010 sales performance proved the danger of chasing niches. In his remarks at the North American International Auto Show, Honda’s John Mendel insisted that

sales of the sporty and stylish CR-Z are also exceeding our expectations with sales of more than 5-thousand vehicles in the first four months. It’s great to see our customers embrace this vehicle … and our effort to push hybrid technology in a sporty direction

but besides proving that expectations for the CR-Z were extremely low, it’s hard to see what he meant. Expectations for the 2012 Honda Civic, on the other hand, are considerably higher.

The 2011 Civic marks the first time Honda has allowed its compact sedan go into a sixth model-year, and facing renewed competition from Chevy, Hyundai and soon, Ford, Honda’s 2012 Civic will be tested as few Civics have been tested before. But in contrast to Ford’s arena-rocking global l aunch for its Focus (and family) earlier in a 12-hour day of press conferences, Honda’s first unveiling of the ’12 Civic’s exterior styling felt like a low-key affair.

And because this was technically a “Concept” launch, there were only a few details released about Honda’s ninth Civic. The short version: next Civic Hybrid will mark Honda’s first use of Lithium-ion battery technology, and Mendel even had special news for the natural gas fans out there, saying

There’s a lot of talk about advanced technologies for the environment … well … the Civic GX is darn near zero emissions like an electric car. And it’s here now … in fact, we’ve had it in the Civic lineup since 1998. Further, natural gas is a fuel in abundant supply in North America. And now, retail customers across the U.S. will be able to buy the GX as we expand sales from four states to nationwide.

Other than that, Honda is saving any surprises for the actual launch. After all, this is not actually the new Civic… this is just a Concept. A Concept that just happens to look exactly like the 2012 Honda Civic. Luckily, the sleekly-evolved design seems to have exceeded expectations among a number of observers at Cobo. Niche product stumbles don’t seem to have distracted Honda’s focus on its core products…. at least in terms of styling. And as long as the Civic remains an attractive, reliable, efficient offering, it will be up to its challengers to knock it off its well-earned pedestal. Now about that efficiency… when will Civic hit 40 MPG?

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  • Geeber Geeber on Jan 13, 2011

    A nice evolution of the current model, which still looks good after six years on the market. This, along with the new Focus, will probably represent the "class" of this segment.

    • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Jan 14, 2011

      Another blah, ugly Honda. What a shock. If this and the Focus are the "class", I don't want to see what is considered ugly. My eyes!

  • JimC JimC on Jan 14, 2011

    So their new hybrid will use a Li ion battery... OK, just as long as it works. As long as they properly size the battery, as in the original Insight and original (2001-2005) Civic Hybrid- not screw it up and put in too small a battery for the '06-'10 Civic Hybrid, hmm?

  • FreedMike They should throw in a Lordstown pickup with every purchase. Make it the “vapor twofer.”
  • Random1 Pretty excited about this update, I didn't see it available in mine this morning, but any day now... I think only Apple maps will be on the center display, and not Waze yet, but I assume that'll come soon enough. As to the unnecessary Tesla comment above : I'll take the build quality, the looks, and generally normal items that all cars should have over the M3 any day of the week.
  • Jonathan H. The ES production is going back to Japan so it's safe to assume its assembly building will be utilized for the new EV. Seems like a good fit for what will probably be fairly low volume compared to the Camry/Rav4 assembly lines.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys how many are shorting this 23 cent (really!) stock?
  • Bobbysirhan These prices will make more sense by the end of July.