Edge of town
THIS is not just another new small car, a player in the most crowded segment of the market — this sharp-looking sedan is make or break for Honda.
Having struggled since the global financial crisis — sales halved as vehicle development was halted — Honda’s factories in Thailand then got belted with tropical floods. Among the big brands, Honda’s was the single biggest sales decline outside Holden and Ford.
So far this year, Honda isn’t even among the Top 10 sellers, nudged out by Kia and Mercedes-Benz.
The new Civic arrives with a big task: to get buyers back into Honda showrooms. On the surface, it’s giving a good shot.
“We became beige and a bit boring,” says Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins. “We need to get Civic back on the top of shopping lists. We want this car to appeal to people who’ve not considered a Honda before.”
The 10th generation Civic is new from the tyres up and made in a new factory — several hundred kilometres away from the zone of tropical floods that engulfed Honda factories and the assembly lines of several other brands.
This, Honda hopes, means uninterrupted supply of the new model. The first boatload of sedans arrives in mid-June, the hatches in early 2017.
Honda has joined other brands by deleting the bargain basement sub-$20,000 model and introducing a higher starting price.
Starting at $22,390 plus onroads, the Civic is on par with the RRPs of the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3, Australia’s top two sellers. This indicates about $25,000 drive-away.
However, the Korean pairing of Hyundai and Kia are putting massive pressure on the rest of the market, having limboed to $19,990 drive-away