Will Buyers Wait Until 2022 for a Next-generation Honda Civic?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
will buyers wait until 2022 for a next generation honda civic

The lifespan of an average car-model usually lasts a half-decade before the automaker shells out for a full redesign, unless it’s a Nissan Frontier or Lincoln Navigator. That’s more or less the rule at Honda when it comes to the top-selling compact car in North America, the Civic.

While the eighth-generation Civic soldiered on for a lengthy six years, Honda sold the preceding seventh, sixth, fifth, and fourth versions of the model for either four or five years. Thanks to a boring design and lackluster reviews, the automaker spirited the ninth-gen model off of dealer lots after just four years, but not before adding extra content and style via an emergency 2013 model year refresh.

We’re now hearing the current generation — larger than ever before, radically redesigned for 2016, and a sales leader in a shrinking segment — won’t see a full redesign until the 2022 model year. That’s a six-year stretch. A stretch where automakers will be scrambling to hold on to compact-car market share in a land flush with small crossovers.

The production information, provided by a source with knowledge of assembly plans at the Civic’s Alliston, Ontario, assembly plant, suggests Honda isn’t too worried about staying fresh. Despite the segment’s decline, Honda’s sitting pretty.

Two years after the 10th-generation model showed up, the Civic handily outsells its second-place challenger, the Toyota Corolla. Its July sales rose 11 percent in the U.S., year-over-year, though sales have dropped 5 percent since the start of 2017. The overall segment shrank 5 percent this year.

James Jenkins, American Honda’s public relations manager, wouldn’t comment on the company’s future products. “The 16MY Civic has been very successful for us, and we’ll always look for way to make the car better,” he told TTAC.

Benefitting the Civic is a two-year-long rollout of new variants. Launching first with a sedan, the Civic lineup added a coupe and hatchback variant, as well as a hotter Si model and the scorching Type R model that began arriving from the U.K. this summer. Variety is the spice of life, but it also bolsters sales figures and focuses attention on a car model.

Honda’s well-received 10th-gen model gives it an advantage, even in a shrinking segment. As other players pull out (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and others lose interest in staying competitive (Ford’s Focus, due for a date with Chinese production), major players like Honda and Toyota stand to pick up more market share. It helps Honda that the current-generation Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra haven’t caught on as well as their predecessors.

So, if the next-generation Civic truly isn’t arriving until 2022, it simply needs to stage a visual and technological repeat of 2016 — not 2012 — to keep that large slice of compact car buyers interested.

[Image: Honda]

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2 of 33 comments
  • Brucebanner Brucebanner on Aug 17, 2017

    For a civic, just buy what you can afford. It's supposed to be reliable transportation. Don't wait.

  • TurboMark TurboMark on Aug 18, 2017

    This is incorrect. Plan is for FMC at 2021, plan for sop sometime fall of 2020.

  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.
  • ToolGuy When you are pulled over for speeding, whether you are given a ticket or not should depend on how attractive you are.Source: My sister 😉
  • Kcflyer What Toyota needs is a true full size body on frame suv to compete with the Expedition and Suburban and their badge engineered brethren. The new sequoia and LX are too compromised in capacity by their off road capabilities that most buyers will never use.
  • ToolGuy Rock crushes scissors, scissors cut paper, paper covers rock, and drywall dents sheet metal.