Can American Honda Really Sell 2000 Civic Type Rs Per Month?

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
can american honda really sell 2000 civic type rs per month

It’s going to be a while before you can buy a next-gen Honda Civic Type R in North America.

We’ve seen the relatively thinly veiled version of the next Civic. Patent images were published on TTAC last week. But, according to AutoGuide’s Colum Wood, American Honda’s Executive Vice President, John Mendel, told reporters after the New York Auto Show that the Civic Type R won’t appear here until at least 2017. “It could be an ‘18 by the time it gets here,” Mendel said.

Clearly, the pricing scheme for the Civic Type R is many months away from being revealed, let alone determined. Yet the most interesting revelation from Mendel wasn’t about the wait, but rather the number of Type Rs Honda believes the company can sell in the United States each month after the car arrives.

“I’d hope we could sell a couple thousand a month,” Mendel said, a number which – in current terms – would have accounted for approximately 8% of the Civics sold in America in the first-quarter of 2015.

Sound high?

Sales figures for many direct Civic Type R rivals aren’t made public. Ford, for example, doesn’t isolate Focus ST numbers from the overall Focus’s monthly tally, nor are the Focus RS’s figures likely to be discussed.

Subaru, however, has averaged nearly 2200 WRX/STi sales over the last 15 months. Granted, those are combined numbers, not completely dissimilar from a Civic Si/Type R combo. Volkswagen’s latest edition of the Golf R is only now being launched. 478 were sold in March, the Mk7 Golf R’s second month on sale. Over the last nine months, VW USA averaged 1816 monthly Golf GTI sales.

However, the Impreza on which the WRX and STi are based and the Golf that’s used as a foundation for the GTI and R don’t compete in the same league as the Civic family. The Civic is America’s second-best-selling small car. The Impreza is, at best, a moderately high-volume car. Even at its current fast-growing clip, the Golf is a low-volume compact.

Through the first-quarter of 2015, the WRX/STi accounts for 32% of all Impreza sales. The GTI outsells the diesel and gas-powered Golf, though only by a slim margin.

A sampling of current sales figures of potential CTR rivals

Two questions come to mind. One, is there space in the hot hatch market (yes, the WRX/STi are sedan-only) for 2000 more monthly sales from a new entry? Two, even with the Civic hatch originating in the UK, does the overall Civic family’s breadth and popularity potentially make 2000 monthly sales a small matter?

As always, it’ll come down to price. Subaru USA manages to sell more than 2000 WRXs and STis each month with base prices around $27,000 and $35,000. The GTI is only slightly more value-conscious than the WRX; the Golf R is slightly more dear than an entry-level STi. Honda will have the advantage of offering the newer, brighter, flashier thing, a thing we haven’t been able to own in North America before.

The very fact that American Honda wants to sell around 2000 Civic Type Rs per month suggests the price point may indeed be in the affordable realm, which could be some of the best news enthusiasts have received in quite some time.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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  • Carlisimo Carlisimo on Apr 23, 2015

    During the ‘90s they absolutely could have sold that many Type Rs. The 1997 model had 182hp to the Mustang GT’s 215hp – not as bad a difference as today, and there were significant weight and handling advantages. In the early 2000s it would’ve been a little more difficult because hatches were going out of style and the EP hatch looked a little awkward. From the mid 2000s onward, probably not. The 2006+ model was an excellent car, but horsepower numbers were rising across the industry and those make the compromises of a FWD chassis more noticeable. But we’ll see. If it gets here soon enough it’ll be on my short list.

  • Dantes_inferno Dantes_inferno on Apr 24, 2015

    What turned me off from the Si the most is that it will be forever associated with the "VTEC just kicked in, YO!" crowd.

  • Tassos GM, especially under the sorry reign of socially promoted nobody Mary Barra (who would not have a chance in hell being appointed the CEO if she was a MALE) has done far dumber and sillier things than that, wasting BILLIONS on 'cruise' and expecting it to make it $50 billion, remember? THey do not mention the name much these days, the clowns at GM, do they?
  • MaintenanceCosts I notice that the pictures don't show the dash or the door cards, two places where you'd be most likely to notice interior disintegration on a VW of this vintage.Looks nice on the outside but I wouldn't touch it.
  • SilverHawk At least in the short term, this is simply going to cause more anxiety among the more technology shy consumers looking to buy a new vehicle. Especially when this is not being done for the benefit of the vehicle owner, but for the convenience of GM's marketing department. Personal data security is an extremely important issue in today's world.
  • Ajla I don't think I'd be able to part with something I kept for 23 years. Especially as the only owner.
  • MaintenanceCosts What now?Lack of CarPlay would be disqualifying for me, and as a current GM EV owner I was a reasonably likely future GM EV customer. Not good at all.