By on April 23, 2015

2001 Honda Civic Type RIt’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?

2015 Honda Civic Concept

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.

Civic Type R future sales chart

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 GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

40 Comments on “Can American Honda Really Sell 2000 Civic Type Rs Per Month?...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I think probably what happened here, is that he made a comment without thinking much about it. I doubt he had exact sales figures in his head either.

    Most Civic buyers are young or middle aged sensible people who like the Civic better than the Corolla (I know I do). They aren’t boy racers who wear white sunglasses and need a loud looking wing and red badges. They don’t put Burgerkingring outline stickers on the rear fenders.

    Nor does the Civic have the cred of the WRX/STi (with their AWD) or the Golf R (with its AWD) or the GTI (with legendary name).

    So no is my final answer, Regis.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The key will be to enable the Type-R to be subtle. You look at the Focus RS for example, it’s a hot hatch but it doesn’t look ridiculous. I could see myself behind the wheel of one without looking silly. Most people I see in Fiesta STs are “4 door GTI” type dads. So if the CTR stays on the right side of ridiculous and is priced well it should be OK.

      I think you underestimate the credibility of the Type-R badge as well. The DC2 ITR is still lauded as one of the best handling FWD cars of all time, and this current crop of hot hatches can’t match it in feel and response, having to resort to boost and tricks instead. If Honda can bring the performance of the current crop of cars together with the nuance and balance of the Type-Rs of the past they will storm the class easily.

      The biggest hurdle IMO will be the looks. Everything from the C-pillar back is an absolute disaster. Looks like they caught it in the middle of it pooping out another car. From that alone I don’t think I could sign on the dotted line, no matter how good it is. Golf R and Focus RS look much more appealing.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I agree the looks are a bit of a mess right now. And the Golf R is always going to be the mature choice in this category. Followed by the Focus.

        • 0 avatar
          runs_on_h8raide

          Golf R is the mature choice. Plenty of time to relax in the dealer’s service lounge sipping on some complimentary coffee while you wait for the loaner car….for the 4th time in 8 months. :)

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I was just saying. I would not buy a VW product, but it does look nice. Saw a new R yesterday.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            > Golf R is the mature choice. Plenty of time to relax in the dealer’s service lounge sipping on some complimentary coffee while you wait for the loaner car….for the 4th time in 8 months. :)

            Would you care to share the details of the issues with us?

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Those ARE the details – it was something he heard on the internet and is now repeating.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      I absolutely see what you’re saying. Honda hasn’t built a good performance Civic, or hell a good performance car, since the 8th Generation Civic Si, which is almost 5 years ago now. Honda was smart to focus on CUVs and appliance-like Accords and 9th Generation Civics, but this cost them dearly with the enthusiast set.

      Now, they want to do a 180 and sell 2,000 cars per month to this segment. That’s great and I think Honda enthusiasts will forgive them and that this target is possible IF the new Si is both an excellent performance car and subtle enough so that it’ll be appealing to non-Honda enthusiasts cross shopping it against the WRX, Focus ST and GTI.

      If it’s anything like the current Si or CR-Z — a cynical marketing ploy on a once great name barely a half step above the Plymouth Volare Road Runner of the late 1970s — buyers will see right through it and they’ll be lucky to move 200 a month, much less 2,000.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        The current Civic Si is not that bad. For example in a straight line it does the quarter in [email protected] GTI/Focus ST do it in [email protected] So in a straight up drag race they are not far off. Mild bolt ons yield huge gains on the Civic Si too… new downpipe for example nets 20-30WHP. Not hard to bolt on your way into the low 14s/high 13s. Chassis is exactly the same as the 8th gen, just stiffer. Adn it has an honest to god mechanical LSD, no brake pad barbecue BS. It isnt the best out of the box but it has the most potential and support by far.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          The 2006 Si did the quarter in 14.7 at 94 MPH. And the ’06 car had the sweet revving 2.0 liter VTEC from the RSX Type-S that revved to 8,000 RPM and had great balance and characteristics. So it was more than mere numbers that made it appealing.

          The new Volare Si uses the CR-V’s 2.4 liter engine that has a 1,000 RPM lower red line and only 8 more HP. It also gets the same MPG as the ’06 car. So 10 years and no progress in terms of performance or economy. But the new engine feels pretty unremarkable, and the numbers don’t reflect how soft a 2015 Si would feel compared to a 2006 Si.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          Huge gains from bolt-ons on a 2.4 liter NA engine that is already making over 200 hp…um, no. Been there before.

          A quick search showed me around 11 whp gain with just a catted downpipe…30 hp is with catless dp, larger throttle body, intake, full-race catback. So, around $2000 plus labor and a tune…call it $500 for that. And now it’s loud, illegal and obnoxious.

          Pretty much the entire competitive set is turbo-engine cars that will pick up 30-35 hp and 50-65 lb./ft. with a $600 tune and a $200 intake…and the Honda offers the most potential? How do you figure?

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            The Honda obviously has the most potential since you can still add the turbo on top of those other goodies.
            Also, the Si is a compact coupe with a tuned ‘truck’ (according to CAFE standards) engine. You can’t get more classic american muscle than that ?

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    For 2000 units a month, the price needs to be below $30K.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      And the SI sedan starts at $23 already with no options checked. Priced with nav and very limited options like locking wheel nuts and some lower molding – $25,857.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Perhaps he meant 2000 hatches per month? Si/R and presumably normal (if we will get the normal Civic hatch).

    Not that I am in the market for a Honda, but it would be nice to see a return of the Civic hatchback even in non-sporting trim. Was one of the few Japanese cars that I would have considered buying back in the 80s and 90s. Sedans this size are so fundamentally useless.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I don’t find my wife’s Rabbit to be much more useful than my Civic sedan for ~90% of the driving we do. A bigger sedan wouldn’t be much more useful. And many hatches have highly sloped roofs that also render them useless.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Then you are just special. Just Saturday I happened upon a well-marked down sliding mitre saw while out shopping. Gigantic box would not have fit in anything smaller than a Town Car, maybe not even one of those. Slipped into the back of my wagon just fine. That last 10% is pretty useful.

        Sedans are useless, aping the style of a 1930s car with an actual trunk slung out the back of the thing. Two-box makes so much more sense in either short or long form.

        • 0 avatar
          dantes_inferno

          Nothing says “old person” like driving a Lincoln Mob Car.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          Following that logic you are special. With my truck I have impulses purchased chairs, China cabinets, and 2 bourbon barrels. Leave the sedan alone…some folks like a trunk.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            50% of people are below average.

            I’d buy a truck before I bought a sedan at this point. I’ve had a few, and regretted it nearly every time, but in those days I was one of those beggars who could not afford to be a chooser. If you are going to go useless, might as well go full on and get a coupe. At least it will be pretty.

  • avatar
    redliner

    2000/Month for the first year? Perhaps. Sustained and continued sales? Unlikely.

    The Civic no longer has the brand equity to sell with the RS and STIs of the world. I will also speculate that Honda will price these units at the absolute limit of what the market will withstand, slowing sales in the process.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I would presume that the Si would be either axed or else repositioned as a cheaper more-show-than-go trim level in conjunction with this.

  • avatar
    John R

    I guess 2000 is possible.

    1 – They may have to turn down the volume of the body work from the images of the Type-R hatch we’ve seen already.

    2 – Keep the cost appreciably south of $30k(read: $27~).

    3 – Be faster than the FR-S/BRZ

    4 – MAKE THE CONNECTION TO THE INTEGRA TYPE-R WE DID HAVE AND CIVIC TYPE-R WE COULDN’T HAVE.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I can’t see any way #1 and #4 can be done simultaneously.
      (my brother has an Integra Type-R, it’s hardly subtle today, it was pretty extreme 17 years ago)
      #2 Can possibly be done and I guess the Si already does #3…

      • 0 avatar
        John R

        Have you seen this thing?

        http://goo.gl/aJDCIK

        Even if the production version were a blow for blow copy of a Lan Evo it’d be toned down from the Type-R concept they showed.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          If you’re going to stick out at all in a world of X-series BMW’s you need to take it up one notch or umpteen.
          Lancer Evos have always just been plain boring cars with a huge wing and slightly overdone front bumper, and they looked plain next to a Type R back in the day too.
          I’m not a potential new car buyer or known for my love for subtle cars though.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I don’t believe the Civic Type-R that Honda is about to start selling now will be a volume seller. It is already too specialized, and I guess it would have to stay a ‘Halo-car’ from which they can sell more Si’s, if they make the Si version more similar.
    As of right now I can’t understand why they are making the Type-R at all, since they don’t have much of a customerbase that could care about its existence, so they better come up with a way to make money off whatever PR effect it will have pretty soon.

  • avatar
    jetcal1

    Heresy, but with an automatic and Leather it might sell. Especially if fuel goes up.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    If they can sell them CHEAPER than you can build out a k20 or k24 with a turbo and a upgraded suspension.. then they will sell ”fine”. maybe not 2k per month since it **will** absolutely be over 35k.

    once we hit 35k, you might as well go with the upcoming nextgen AWD focus RS or GTI-R which will humiliate the civic.

    • 0 avatar
      runs_on_h8raide

      Humiliate the Type R? I’m sorry what’s the GTi-R and Focus’ ‘ring time again? AWD is the only advantage…if you want to call it an advantage. I call AWD a crutch. Slap some snow tires on any FWD car and you have no problem in snow. I never understood the “omg its snowing i need AWD” mentality. That comes from being a bad driver. Skill up.

      • 0 avatar
        maxxcool7421

        I would simply respond to that with 99.9999% of the world does not drive the ring. And in the real world or autocross or on a drag strip the nextgen focus RS and golf-R will destroy the civic in stock forms.

  • avatar
    CaliCarGuy

    I think they could sell them, but I fear it will face what the Subaru BRZ/Scion FRS is going though right now, : a plateauing of sales and demand. Off to a strong start in the beginning and then either leveling off or falling because everyone who wanted one bought one. They do have over 20 years of pent up demand for it here though since they never really sold it here. If it pushes or goes over 3ok though they might have a problem

    • 0 avatar
      runs_on_h8raide

      The twins aren’t selling because of the woeful lack of power. The car should have 230-50 normally aspirated Horsepower. I know they left it open for the tuner market…but there are those who’d rather keep everything stock and under warranty.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    The Type R is a case of “if you build it, they will come” and they will. I don’t see any reason why a car with this capability doesn’t sell in those numbers. Price it at $33-5k and it will be a home run. They can’t water it down, however…we need to get the full Type R. No detuned, or decontented model.

  • avatar
    Chan

    The Civic Si in North America is priced at US$23-25k.

    Now imagine the special powertrain for a Type-R.

    Then add the look-fast bits which I must imagine to be at least $1000-2000 more than the stock bumpers, fenders, side skirts and interior bits

    On top of that factor in the limited production hatchback form factor that has to be imported and US-legalised separately from the normal NA Civic sedan.

    I don’t see a $30k Civic selling 24,000 units a year in the US. Do they even sell that many Si models?

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    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.

  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

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

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • mopar4wd: So the Defender is interesting. Based on offroad testing of other LR’s with the same basic chassis,...
  • mcs: I have decent cell coverage, so I can get away with streaming. Streaming Amazon Unlimited with an Echo Auto in...
  • mopar4wd: If jeep takes the ram and adds some option for locking diffs etc it very may well be capable of what a...
  • TimK: The 24-hour news cycle has everyone trained now, and for most people it’s impossible to focus on events that...
  • mopar4wd: Judging by the fact that all the wealthy suburbs here in CT are littered with Grand Cherokees I would say...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Timothy Cain
  • Matthew Guy
  • Ronnie Schreiber
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth