Honda updates Civic national ad following Detroit uproar

Article by Anita Panait, on January 29, 2014

Honda Motor Co. has modified a national ad for the Civic compact following an uproar in Detroit over the original spot’s images of protesters outside of a federal court in the city. The ad, "Today Is Pretty Great," featured images of the bankruptcy court and protestors outside a federal courthouse in Detroit before showing more positive images.

Some Detroiters were able to identify the place as the city's Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse. The court in the original spot is hearing arguments in the city of Detroit's bankruptcy case. The commercial began airing Jan. 8, 2014. The updated ad no longer bears the footage of the courthouse and protesters.

Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in the United States in July 2013. Any bankruptcy settlement may result to city employees and retirees seeing reduction in their wages, benefits and pensions. The Detroit News recently published a story about Honda commercial and the negative response it was receiving in Detroit.

Hours later, Honda officials told the daily that they would be getting rid of the images of protestors. "The slight change we made to the commercial simply reflects our desire to remove anything that would get in the way of our uplifting message," Honda spokesman Steve Kinkade told Automotive News.

He said that the original commercial, created by Honda's chief advertising agency RPA, was not intended to represent Detroit or “the challenges experienced by the city, its people or our industry." The Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the National Action Network's Michigan chapter, told the News that the ad was a slap in Detroit's face.

Honda revealed that the changes done on the 2013 Civic Sedan are by far greater that what one would expect on how a mid-model would be redesigned. The style of both the front section and the rear end has been changed entirely to give it a more premium and youthful feel. Examples of changes include those related to sheet metal like those on the hood and the trunk lid. In terms of material, the new Civic is 55% high-strength steel.

This has two advantages with the first being that it lowers the weight and the second is that the strength is maximized resulting in better rigidity. As mentioned already, a number of changes were done for the body of the new Civic.

Customers can then expect a new A-pillar, side sill, front floor, front bumper extension, and upper wheel housing. In addition, the use of high-strength steel meant that customers can expect refinement dividends. This also allows for a stiffer structure particularly for the various updates done on the chassis of this new model.

Further, the structure of this model was developed with the goal of the new Civic being able to get high marks on the small overlap crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the IIHS. On the rear section, the bumper has a new design while there is also a new trunk lid. These are then capped with a horizontal and clean chrome trim piece.

New as well is the design of the taillights and its jewel-like look. Since this is carried to the trunk face, it allows for a more premium and finished appearance. Going to the bumper, it has been integrated with reflector treatments. Meanwhile the lower diffuser panel has a honeycomb mesh vent finish.

Looking at the front end, there is a new open-mouth lower bumper that has a horizontal chrome accent. The honeycomb mesh grille comes in black and has a more athletic look. This grille is anchored by the fog lights integrated to it, though this is only available on trims EX-L and above. On each side of the grille are the clear-lens corner lights which give this area a more premium appearance.

Further the front end is more sculpted and flows to the more deeply faceted and taller hood. Honda did say that while there were changes in the Sedan, the 2013 Civic Coupe and its expressive exterior styling have not been modified in any way. All models though will be fitted with the restyled wheels which can further sharpen the appearance of the 2013 Civic.

Under the skin of the 2013 Civic, Honda disclosed it also made significant changes with the goal of improving the noise isolation and handling refinement. The Electronic Power Steering configuration has been reworked, allowing it to deliver quicker ratio and at the same time lower friction. Both the front springs and wheels meanwhile are now stiffer.

The front stabilizer bar is also thicker and has the mounting bushings lined with Teflon. This was done in order to have a suspension action that is more fluid. It also results in a cornering attitude that is more responsive and flatter.

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