Reprieve for hot Civic
It’s too dirty for Europe but fine for us, writes Mark Hinchliffe in Thailand
THE ripsnorter Honda Civic Type R will live on in Australia despite being given a death sentence in Europe this week.
Tougher new emissions standards mean Honda cannot certify its highrevving V-Tech engine for future use in parts of Europe. An all-new Civic hits the road there in the second half of next year.
But the overseas change will have no effect — yet — in Australia.
Honda Australia says it will protect fans of the car, which is built in Britain. About 1840 cars have been sold in Australia.
The Type R is the last survivor of Honda’s once-impressive performance-vehicle line-up, which included everything from the supercar NSX to the pocket-rocket CRX.
The company killed the Prelude in 2001, Integra in 2006 and the S2000 in 2008.
It even canned plans for a born-again NSX, though the car lives on— at least in shape — in the Japanese GT racing series where it competes against the Nissan GT-R and Lexus coupe.
Despite the loss of these cars, Honda Australia CEO Satoshi Matsuzawa rejects any claim the company has lost its mojo.
‘‘It’s important to address the position of Honda,’’ Matsuzawa says.
‘‘We are still fun to drive. That car (Type R) represents our product.’’
He is not specific on plans, especially if British supply is cut, but says deliveries of the Civic Type R and Si hatch will continue ‘‘for now’’.
There is no confirmation of a Type R in the next Civic.
‘‘It’s under consideration, but we’re not sure,’’ Matsuzawa says.
‘‘The CR-Z (sports hybrid) is coming next year and that is a good opportunity to demonstrate our enthusiasm for sport and the environment.’’
The Type R was launched in Australia in 2007 and, with the Si hatch, represents about 10 per cent of Civic sales.
Civic sales so far this year are 6695 cars at the end of July, up 12.6 per cent on the same period last year.
Despite the commitment to the Type R, Honda Australia says the more powerful, Japanese-made Civic R sedan will not come here because all Civic sedans are supplied from Thailand.
Though in the mood to confirm model lines, Matsuzawa says the Legend and Odyssey will continue to be produced in Japan, despite moves towards smaller-car production.
But he rules out bringing cars from Honda’s North American luxury arm, Accura, to Australia ‘‘at this stage’’.
He says a more important vehicle for Australia is a mid-sized seven-seater SUV, such as the left-hand-drive Pilot.
Other products Matsuzawa has pencilled-in for Australia include the Jazz hybrid and a sub-compact ‘‘ eco’’ car being made in India and Thailand.
Lifeline: Australian supplies of the Type R Civic are safe for now.