Although Honda’s chief operating officer for North America says the carmaker does not talk about taking the top spot as a goal, its mainstay Honda Civic is poised to become this year’s number one compact in the region as evidenced by sales figures for the first two months of 2012. In January and February 2012, Honda Civic sedans and coupes posted a 45% year-on-year increase to 48,970 units, outselling rival models Corolla of Toyota Motors Co. and Chevrolet Cruze of General Motors Co.
Tetsuo Iwamura, Honda’s COO for North America, said the company now has enough capacity to make Honda Civic the best-selling compact.
The Honda was deeply hit in 2011 due to US supply problems apparently caused by the Japan earthquake and negative reviews.
But now, Honda is back in the game. Iwamura said that when competitors take a shot at the Civic, Honda will now have “enough ammunition to shoot back.” The COO reaffirmed Honda’s business philosophy of having very good acceptance and high customer satisfaction instead of aiming for the best seller title. This philosophy is also what sparked Civic into the top spot in years before 2002, when it was finally overtaken by rivals.
In 2011, Civic was behind Corolla and Cruze, according to Autodata Corp. After its parts supply base and engineering centre in Japan were shell-shocked by the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disasters, Honda decided to shift some of the production of the Civic in North America.
As result, Honda’s North American sites increased their production output by 63%, enough to regain sales in the United States. The company assembled 84,678 Civics at plants in Canada and Indiana in the first two months of 2012, compared to 50,056 units produce in the same period in 2011.The company’s output for all Honda and Acura cars and light trucks in North America soared 36% to 301,564 for the first two months of 2012.
Honda has long been committed to delivering models that exhibit qualities that customers want. These include convenience, comfort, quality, style, refinement, safety, durability, and a performance that is fun-to-drive. All of these are present when one gets to look under the 2012 Civic’s already aerodynamic covering. This is why many owners know that buying a Civic is indeed a smart decision.
Long term owners of the Civic though also know that this model has long proven that it can deliver even on the long run. As mentioned, the Civic is fun to drive and this is not surprising to many fans as it was designed to be just that. In part, this is owed to having stabilizer bars for the front and the rear while having a multi-link suspension in the rear and a MacPherson strut suspension for the front.
Its Electric Power Steering, or EPS, is motion adaptive and gives the driver an excellent feel when running at high speeds while steering response is enhanced under low speeds. Because of the EPS, the engine of the 2012 Civic does not experience any parasitic power loss and this helps not just with output but even with fuel efficiency. This is unlike many other standard engines, especially those having a steering system that is hydraulically boosted.
Offered as standard are the 15-inch wheels though the EX and EX-L variants will have 16-inch wheels as standard while the Si model will get the 17-inch versions. They will be fitted with the all-season tires, or the performance-oriented summer tires, offered as an option. However, all of them are expected to deliver comfort and a remarkable grip no matter what the weather condition is.
For the Si model, both the Coupe and Sedan variants, driving fun is increased with the 201-horsepower engine and the suspension tuned specifically for it. Honda knows that customers also put a high premium when it comes to safety and the 2012 Civic has a lot going for it. In fact, an internal crash test has been conducted and the data show that the new Civic has the chance to get high marks under the New Car Assessment Program of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The brand also believes that with the figures, it even has the possibility of getting a “TOP SAFETY PICK" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an independent institution. Helping achieve this are a number of innovative safety systems like the Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure or (ACE). This system helps with the energy management during frontal collision and even has that vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility.
Additional safety features include the multiple-threshold dual-stage airbag for both the driver and the passenger in the front. These two also benefit from having side airbags. It also has two-row side curtain airbags. An anti-lock braking system, also known as ABS, now has Brake Assist. Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is equipped as well as the Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering system. The latter in particular helps the driver in making sure that the vehicle is in the proper direction and thus minimize any understeer or oversteer from happening.