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Honda delays Civic redesign

Mon, 17 May 2010

Honda's redesigned Civic will not arrive until 2011, well past the typical five-year product cadence that would have landed the next-generation subcompact in dealer showrooms this fall.

Changing market conditions and tougher fuel economy and emissions regulations affected the development of the upcoming Civic, John Mendel, American Honda Motor Co.'s executive vice president, said in an interview.

Mendel said the next Civic would come next year, although he declined to give a specific month. The current Civic debuted in September 2005.

"In general, we are not changing cycles," he said. "We change vehicles as need be. The ability to do something based on more current information is better than waiting a full model cycle. Some of that is being able to have the opportunity to change [based on] what you see happening in the marketplace."

At the Tokyo auto show last October, Honda Motor Co. COO Tsuneo Tanai said the redesign had been altered midstream. The next Civic was planned to be larger than the current model. But its exterior has been resized closer to the current one, Tanai said.

The Civic sells about 1 million cars a year globally, with the United States accounting for about one-third of that.

Despite the delay, the Civic-based CR-V crossover is expected to stick to a five-year cycle. The current CR-V debuted in the fall of 2006; the redesign will arrive next year, Mendel said.

This would not be the first time a major Japanese carmaker has extended the life cycle of a core model. Toyota delayed the scheduled 2007 redesign of its U.S.-edition Corolla compact by a year because engineering resources were spread too thin. Although incentive spending increased in that final year, Corolla sales remained strong, and Toyota judged the decision to have been a good one.

By Mark Rechtin- Automotive News