Honda has confessed to an open secret: a much-awaited new version of the popular Civic model will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show, next month, and this official rendering offers a hint of what’s to come.
The image of the ninth-generation Civic, one of two foundational vehicles for Honda, will appear in the line-up for the 2012 model-year, and not a moment too soon. The compact passenger car segment is facing more competition than it has seen in years, with a variety of new offerings from the U.S. and South Korea aiming to topple the established order.
Though they remain the segment’s best-sellers, the current, gen-eight Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are more vulnerable than they have been in years, industry analysts warn, but the launch of an all-new Civic should help Honda hold onto its segment – at least if it hits the mark. Toyota has taken significant heat for the current Corolla, which suffered from both cost-cutting and differences of opinion between the company’s U.S. and Japanese managers.
Sleekly aerodynamic, the sketch released by Honda appears to show the design of the 2012 Civic Coupe. That’s traditionally been the maker’s sportiest entry in the compact segment. Whether Honda will take a similarly aggressive approach with the 2012 Civic Sedan remains to be seen.
Over the years, as Honda has steadily expanded its line-up, key models like Civic and Accord have had to share showroom space with new alternatives, from the Odyssey minivan to the CR-Z hybrid. Nonetheless, the importance of the Civic can’t be understated. Honda has sold nearly 234,000 Civics – in their various forms – for the first 11 months of 2010. That makes it the 11th best-selling model on the American market, according to AutoData Corp., which tracks vehicle sales statistics.