While development continues on the somewhat overdue next-generation Civic, news out of Japan this week is that Honda will discontinue the current Civic sedan in its home market once existing stocks sell out.
Sales in overseas markets will remain unaffected however, with the Australian-delivered Civic sedan recently updated and repriced. In October, Honda Australia sold 957 Civic sedans and hatches, down slightly on last October's 989.
Although the move is attributed to buyers moving away from small sedans into MPVs and smaller city cars, it also suggests that the unveiling of the next-generation Civic could be near.
Our recent spy photos show that development of the new Civic is well underway.
While the exposed roof and windows show that this test car shares at least that much with the current hatch, the heavy camouflage suggests it is either a mule for an all-new model, or a heavily updated 2011 version of the current platform.
Originally scheduled to debut later this year, the all-new next-generation Honda Civic platform is now expected to launch sometime in 2011 - making the current platform six years old when the new model is revealed next year.
Speaking with US magazine Autoweek recently, Honda America's Executive Vice President John Mendel echoed comments from Honda CEO Takanobu Ito that changing market conditions have forced the Civic project back to the drawing board.
"We change vehicles as need be. The ability to do something based on more current information is better than waiting a full model cycle. Some of that is being able to have the opportunity to change [based on] what you see happening in the marketplace," Mendel told Autoweek.
Honda CEO Takanobu Ito last year confirmed that the Japanese carmaker has stopped development of what was set to be a larger and more expensive new Civic.
"We are taking more time to rethink the new Civic and all our models," Mr Ito told industry paper Automotive News. "We had to revisit our development work and our planning to comply with the change in the environment."
Honda's Chief Operating Officer for Automotive Operations, Tsuneo Tanai has directed the carmaker's designers and engineers to make the car smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient than the project currently in development.
Neither Tanai nor Ito offered any insight on a launch date for the new Civic. "The team is struggling. We are injecting more manpower to meet our target," Mr Ito said.
The Civic has been a vital platform for Honda in recent years, forming the basis for the CR-V and the Japanese-market Stream and Element models.
With development of the next-generation Civic lagging, it seems likely that there will be delays to these model lines as well. However, Mendel said that an all-new CR-V will arrive 'on schedule' next year - five years from its 2006 debut.