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Honda plans rapid-fire launch of 2012 Civics

Tue, 18 Jan 2011

Honda will take a hurry-up approach when launching its delayed Civic family in April.

Unlike past Civic rollouts--which spread the debuts of model types and variations over months and even years--Honda will launch every variety of the 2012 Civic within weeks of each other, said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda.

The family includes a sedan and coupe, multiple engines, lithium ion hybrid and natural gas versions, and a Civic Si edition.

In late 2008, the Civic launch was delayed six months after the Lehman Brothers collapse. The car was promptly redesigned to be smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient and cheaper to build.

"The story that will never be told is how much we changed the car," Mendel said at the unveiling of concept versions of the Civic last week at the Detroit auto show.

The major change with the Civic involved interior packaging, said Vicki Poponi, Honda assistant vice president of product planning.

"When you get in [the current] car, it isn't roomy enough to be a Civic," she said. "That was what our focus was, getting back to where we once were: compact yet surprisingly roomy."

Although not the official tag line, the marketing credo for the 2012 Civic is a play on founder Soichiro Honda's belief that there is "a Civic for everyone," said Steve Center, Honda's chief marketing officer in the United States. In its marketing campaign, Honda will play on the idea of the variety of Civic offerings.

The Civic concept retains the angular look of the current model, but with more pronounced shoulders. The windshield still has a shallow rake with a cab-forward orientation. In a nod to the BMW styling cue, the rear window has the so-called Hofmeister kink in the C-pillar, an element normally reserved for performance vehicles.

By Mark Rechtin- Automotive News