Honda Motors said it will unveil “upgrades” on its 2013-model Civic, going on sale late next year, in a try to boost U.S. sales by 24 percent in 2012 for its namesake brand.
The eight-generation Civic was the most stylish to date, but the vehicle is having problems because of weak reviews and production problems that have led to shortages of the latest redesign. In addition, the influential Consumer Reports magazine has pulled its recommendation of the 2012 Honda Civic which “scored too low” in its latest shoot-out among compact cars.
So what happened? The new Civic feels insubstantial with a cheap interior. You don’t get much feature content for the $19,405 that our Civic LX automatic costs, either. And the bar in this category is very high because of the new-to-market Chevrolet Cruze, the redesigned-for-2012Ford Focus, and the redesigned-for-2011 Hyundai Elantra.
“The competitors became better — that is a fact,” President and CEO of American Honda Tetsuo Iwamura said. “The gap between Civic and competitors has been narrowed. In the past, we had a huge gap.”
“Building a good car isn’t enough for us, we have to build a great car,” John Mendel, Honda’s executive vice president of sales in the U.S., said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“We think we can do better and the customer expects that and we will.”
The company’s U.S. market share has declined to 9% for the first 11 months of this year compared with 10.5% for the same period in 2010. And though luxury brands such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac have grown this year, Acura sales fell 6.7% through November.
The 2012 target is sales of 1,250,000 Honda vehicles and 180,000 for the automaker’s Acura premium brand, Iwamura said.