Honda Planning Civic Refresh To Help Halt Sliding Sales Photo:
2014_honda_civic_hatch_03 Photo: tmr
2014_honda_civic_hatch_01 Photo: tmr
2014_honda_civic_hatch_02 Photo: tmr

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Tony O'Kane | Feb, 12 2015 | 8 Comments

Honda Australia will rejig the Civic range in the second quarter of this year as it aims to stem falling sales of its once-popular small car.

Last year just 7878 Civic hatches and Civic sedans left Honda showrooms, giving the Japanese automaker a 3.4 percent slice of the sub-$40k small car segment.

That puts it well behind the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3, which led the segment with 18.7 and 18.5 percent market share respectively.

It also trails also-rans like the ancient Holden Cruze, the Mitsubishi Lancer and the thoroughly underwhelming Nissan Pulsar.

Meanwhile, sales continue to dip. While 613 Civics were sold in December last year, just 375 left dealerships in January 2015. It's a far cry from 2013, when Honda sold in excess of 14,000 Civics across the full year.

Salvation may be at hand though, with company boss Stephen Collins telling TMR that a range realignment will occur in the second quarter of 2015.

Prices will remain untouched, but Honda will add equipment to most models in the Civic hatch and sedan ranges to improve the car’s value proposition.

“Our plan this year is more about providing limited editions and adding value to that car,” Collins said.

“I think that’s going to be our work for this year. We know that awareness [of Civic] is good, we just need to get back on shopping lists.

“We’ve done it with Jazz, I think we’ve done it with Odyssey, there’s no reason why we can’t do it with Civic. That’s the next priority for us.

“Leading up to the big selling period of April-May-June will be a prime period for us to be as aggressive as we can with Civic.

“Not planning any price movements, we’re just looking at adding value and refreshing where we can.”

Looking further afield, Collins confirmed that an all-new replacement for the Civic is on the horizon and will most likely arrive in late 2016.

“We haven’t confirmed when it will be,” Collins said.

“But I would suspect that it’ll be probably sometime next year, later in the year.

“It’s not that far away, but having said that we need to do some actions between now and then to make sure we’re selling Civics.”

While many segment rivals are making greater use of turbocharging, the Civic has copped flak for being powered by relatively unsophisticated naturally-aspirated single-cam petrol engines (the Civic hatch diesel being the exception).

But when asked if the next-generation Civic would carry Honda’s new range of turbocharged Earth Dreams engines to Australia, Collins said no decision had yet been made.

“We haven’t decided as yet, but I would be hopeful that the next-generation Civic will be a leader in technology, will be a leader in value and that we will tick every box with that car.

“We will leave no stone unturned to make that car competitive.”

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