Honda CEO took personal responsibility for the redesigned Civic’s poor reception

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 1, 2011

The redesigned Honda Civic has been poorly received and its sales have also lagged behind in the U.S. since it was launched last April. This is something that Honda Motor CEO Takanobu Ito takes responsibility for. He told journalists at the Tokyo Motor Show that the “ultimate responsibility” rests with him.

He said that he makes the decisions on the “best actions” to be taken using feedback from the different markets. Consumer Reports magazine cited the bad quality of the cheap plastics used for the interior as one of the primary reasons why the 2012 Civic was dropped from the list of "recommended" vehicles.

For more than 10 years, the Civic has consistently been a part of this list. The Civic redesign was described by a Wall Street Journal review as "a betrayal." Honda’s lineup is mainly composed of the Civic, Accord, Odyssey minivan and CR-V crossover. These four models stand for almost 80% of Honda’s U.S. sales. The U.S. market has noted a 10% increase through October but for this same period, Civic sales have fallen by 15% to 183,557 units.

Production at Honda’s plans has dropped due to the parts shortage, the result of Japan’s earthquake last March and the recent Thailand floods. The Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Fusion both outperformed the Civic.

And the Hyundai Elantra is fast catching up. American Honda executive vice president John Mendel said that Honda is considering a plan to short-cycle the Civic. It’s possible that its mid-cycle change will take place as early as the 2013 calendar year – one year in advance of a typical timetable in a five-year period.

Exterior Design

In terms of style, the 2012 Civic from Honda is clearly unique and at the same time aerodynamic. This is because while it remains to have that signature mono-form one-motion shape, it offers a new interpretation of this. One can say that the 2012 Civic has been designed in a way that it displays a look that has higher energy and is more substantial. Whether it is the Coupe version or the Sedan one, the exterior comes with a style that highlights the character lines on its profile that are more prominent, its wide stance, windshields that are smoothly angled, and the powerful but clean body lines.

The Coupe version in particular shows a more aggressive posture given the mesh grille, the front fascia that is more angular, and the rear roofline that has been narrowed and that effortlessly flows to the trunk. There are a number of hidden aerodynamic features like the aero strakes that have been strategically positioned and the unit-body flat-bottom construction.

Combined with other features, it ensures that the Civic is able to offer remarkable fuel economy. Being a Civic, there is no doubt that it is a vehicle that is fun to drive. In order to guarantee this, it comes with the stabilizer bars placed on the front and the rear plus the use of the MacPherson strut suspension in the front and the multi-link suspension in the rear.

Equipped with the Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering, or EPS, steering response is enhanced when driving at low speeds with a more rewarding feel experienced when running at higher speeds. While most standard hydraulically boosted steering system results in the engine experiencing what is known as parasitic power loss, the same cannot be said for the EPS. In fact, the EPS even has a positive effect on fuel economy and power output.

Fitted as standard are the 15-inch wheels with the all-season tires. The EX and EX-L variants however will have the 16-inch wheels with the Si version having the 17-inch wheels. Honda though is offering the performance-oriented summer tires as an option. With this, driving the Civic means excellent ride comfort mixed with all-weather grip.

Both the Civic Si Coupe and the Civic Si Sedan though are expand to enhance the driving fun as the two will be equipped with an engine that delivers larger displacement (power output at 201 hp) as well as a suspension that has been tuned specifically for both. Safety is guaranteed in the 2012 Civic due to the various advanced safety systems equipped. One of this is the Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure, or (ACE). This system helps with managing frontal collision energy and the vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility.

Other safety equipment includes the multiple threshold and dual-stage airbags for both the driver and the passengers sitting in the front. These same positions also have side airbags for each. There is also the two-row side curtain airbags. Various safety systems fitted are the anti-lock braking system that comes with the Brake Assist and the Vehicle Stability Assist, or VSA.

A new feature is the Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering system which aids the driver in steering to the ideal direction in order to minimize any understeer or oversteer. Honda revealed that internal crash test data showed that the 2012 Civic may be able to get top grade in the New Car Assessment Program of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a chance to be chosen as "TOP SAFETY PICK" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Indeed, while the 2012 Civic is aerodynamic, it continues to be in line with the brand’s promise of a vehicle that exhibits a fun-to-drive performance, follows its pillars of safety, exude comfort, show style, durable, convenient, refined, and has top quality. As such, the 2012 Civic is a vehicle that is not only a good decision upon buying but also enables long-lasting happiness as an owner.

Topics: honda, honda civic, ceo

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