Honda Motor Co. is mulling developing the next generation of the Honda Civic in the United States instead of in Japan, according to Satoshi Takami, a spokesman for the carmaker in Tokyo. The possible shift came after the last version of the Civic received heavy criticisms. The 2012 Honda Civic, the carmaker’s third-best selling model in 2011 after the CR-V and the Accord, received criticism for sporting an uninspired design and a rough ride.
Takami said that localising Civic development in the US is one of the things under consideration, as Honda aims to develop cars locally where they are being sold. According to a Monday report by the Nikkei business daily, Honda would develop both the next generation Civic and Accord sedans in the US and will roll them out for sale around 2016.
Takami disclosed that the Japanese carmaker is mulling developing the next generation Civic at its Research and Development (R&D) centre in Ohio, rather than in Tochigi, Japan.
He added that there is no decision yet for the Accord. If the plan pushes through, Honda’s engineers in Ohio could handle the development of the Civic's body and the interior, while engineers in Tochigi could still develop engines and other core parts.
Honda is scheduled to unveil the refreshed 2013 Civic Thursday at the ongoing Los Angeles Auto Show. Honda chief executive Takanobu Ito has been hoping for the carmaker’s engineers outside Japan to be more involved, with an aim to reflect the different demands of customers around the world.
For 2013, Honda’s top-selling and award-winning Civic returns with a host of new standard features and design upgrades, while still retaining the value and the efficiency that made the Civic an automotive icon in the last four decades. The new Honda Civic Sedan models all boast new exterior styling for both front and rear, along with extensive styling upgrades for the interior. Sharpening the Civic’s handling are its retuned steering and suspension, while its extensive chassis and body upgrades improve riding comfort and the quietness of its interior.
Across the board, the 2013 Civic is equipped with class-leading standard features and standard equipment, including Bluetooth Audio, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, color i-MID display, rearview camera, Pandora Interface, SMS text feature, USB/iPod connection, exterior temperature gauge, sliding center-console armrest, and steering wheel audio controls. Even with the addition of expensive standard features, the 2013 Honda Civic comes with only a $160-increase in MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) across the entire lineup, with the pricing for the well-equipped 2013 Honda Civic LX Sedan starting at $18,165.
What’s more, the 2013 Honda Civic has new built-in safety technologies like the application of next-generation ACE II or Advanced Compatibility Engineering II body structure, which includes additional front structures that are designed to promote better occupant protection as it disperses crash energy in overlap frontal crashes. These safety features also help the Civic get top rating in the small-offset crash test that the IIHS or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducts.
Additionally, the car also has SmartVent side airbags, available Forward Collision Warning, side curtain airbags plus rollover sensor, and Lane Departure Warning systems, which are making their first compact-class appearance in the 2013 Civic Hybrid.