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2009 Honda Civic coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

Honda Motor Company almost religiously follows a five-year redesign schedule. Like clockwork, once every five years, a new Honda Civic is born... but not this time. If the five-year plan was still on schedule, we would be anxiously looking for a new Civic in showrooms this fall, but delays in the launch will push the new model back until sometime next year.

Why the delay? Honda points to several reasons, such as changing market conditions, new fuel economy regulations and stricter emissions standards. Though we had reported before that strict regulations would lead to an increased cost of about $1,000 per vehicle, we didn't assume that launches would be delayed by new emissions regulations. This delay is sure to cost the company much more than the number above, we'd guess something in the millions. Honda had no choice but to delay the launch, as executive vice-president of American Honda Motor Company John Mendel said:
In general, we are not changing cycles. 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.



[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req'd]


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  • 30 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Agreed! Many of the automakers have been upsizing their models - the Scion xD is bigger than the discontinued xA and has a larger engine (1.8L vs 1.5L), and the second-generation xB is bigger than the first xB and also has a bigger engine (from 1.8L to 2.4L). Others have remarked to that effect regarding other vehicles, including those made by Honda, Subaru and the domestics.

      With all the Civics on the road, I'm shocked that they would want to make it bigger - it obviously fits people's needs or they wouldn't sell so well.

      No excuse, Honda. None.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I totally agree. Americans like bigger and faster cars generally, but the Civic does not need to grow by any means. IMHO they should do what Nissan does, and offer a midsize model like the Altima. ( The accord is getting huge anyway )

      • 5 Years Ago
      No need to make it bigger. Before I traded my Accord, I was sitting in traffic behind a current gen Civic and that car was the same size if not bigger than my Accord (1995).
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was driving behind the original Odyssey the other day -- man, they have made their vehicles bigger and bigger and bigger over the years.

        The Fit is an awesome design (though not perfect), IMO, and they need to do similar things to all of their cars -- make them better, not bigger. Honda *used* to have excellent R&D, and they have lost that edge. Lighter weight and better aero, along with the best drivetrains you can make, please!

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 5 Years Ago
        I just had to ditch my 1995 Civic (far too expensive to repair for the condition it was in) and I bought a 2008 Civic. The '08 is a far better and bigger car in many respects, except that I am more cramped in the new model and the seat is not as long and hence doesn't support my thighs as well as the '95. I was pretty surprised that in an obviously bigger car, I feel cramped whereas I never did in the old model. Guess it's all that extra safety equipment.

        My MPG is not as good as in the '95, though only down by a few (35 versus 37). Considering that it has a much more powerful engine and weighs more, this is a big plus. Still, I'd rather have a smaller Civic with more interior room and even better mileage. Much as I like the Civic and disagree that the sedan is hideous (particularly compared to what they've been offering up since '96), I would rather have bought a used Fit for the versatility and economy. BUT they are really hard to come by in my area and I didn't have the luxury of waiting. Oh well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The current gen civic and pilot is the only thing honda has going in America. The delay is smart, and probably a result of the flopping accord.

      While I love the fit, I can understand that most americans have no clue why people pay the extra $1-3k for it over other econo cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not an attractive vehicle though, IMO. I rented an accord from the previous generation and one from the current generation, and I liked the previous one a lot better in terms of interior ergonomics and feel, even though it too is ugly. I realize that there are only so many things you can do to the basic sedan body, but they've been choosing the wrong things for several generations. Much as it surprises me to say it, the Hyundai Genesis is far more attractive than any Accord in the past 15 years. What's going on, Honda? Even the new Toyota Sienna is much better looking than the Odyssey; if Toyota drops a hybrid engine in there, my next vehicle won't be a Honda.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Flopping Accord.? LOL
        It's the best selling retail passenger car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Flopping Accord.? LOL It's the best selling retail passenger car".

        Have a look at this page.

        http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html

        Notice how almost all the cars except the accord and civic had massive sales growth last year.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I imagine that the redesign was already well underway before the economic crisis and the surge to $4 a gallon fuel. wish we only paid that here instead of £4 (per us gallon !)

      not sure why Honda is being criticised for realising that the Civic needs to stay the same size. and you say why did they want to make it bigger - probably because many Americans complain compacts are too small and are evne now buying larger SUV's again.

      So we are saying Honda should not increase the size of its cars but the car buyers are moving in the opposite direction again !

      I lve in the Uk and drive an Accord wagon as the Civic was slightly too small for my needs although I do drive the diesel which exceeds the us 2016 cafe by some margin and is available in 180hp 280lbs/ft form which would be great in the Civic !

      It is interesting from a UK viewpoint that the US Civic styling is seen by some to be extreme as the 4 door is very conservative next to the 3 and 5 doors we get.

      Also many peole here like SUVs and minivans but the vast majority are diesels. The top selling cars here are Golfs and Fiestas etc in fact the 3 series number ten seller is the largest car in the top ten and that isnt exactly a huge car. I also own a secondhand citroen diesel van as my mother is now in a wheelchair. I onlu use it for short distances.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "a significantly larger vehicle" ?!

      Honda obviously didn't get the "Report: Most Americans ready to downsize current rides for something more efficient" and our insightful comments on it. http://green.autoblog.com/2010/04/23/report-most-americans-ready-to-downsize-current-rides-for-somet/

      Someone should make graphs of the increase in size/pork of a car model against the decreasing engineering focus of its manufacturer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      To hell with size increases, make it smaller and lighter..THAT would be a real improvement.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Your fault to looswe sales. Been telling you for over a year -- JUST DROP A DIESEL IN IT. Nooo, Americans not ready for diesels. Well GO FORTH AND REPRODUCE WITH YOURSELF!!!! I was around in the 60s 70' and 80s. I know theat the Big 3 tried to cut corners by trying to produce diesels with essentially gasoline blocks. Yes they failed miserably! That does not mean that the USA is not ready for real, better, econmical diesels with POWER. Have only drove/bought Hondas since 1992. Well GO FORTH AND REPRODUCE WITH YOURSELF --- VW here I come!!!!!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Has any automaker had a vehicle that shrank (other than the fox body mustang)? I can't remember any car or truck getting smaller in the last twenty years, but for the life of me I can't imagine why. As a general rule, I would say that as they get bigger they become less appealing to me, citing the Toyota Tacoma, VW Jetta, BMW 3-series, and even the Prius. All great cars and trucks, but wouldn't they be better if they improved them without making them bigger each time?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh come on.
      Give me a break.
      So... they were clueless what competitors were doing?
      They had no idea that regulations might tighten?
      Didn't see that as a possibility?
      In light of no increased regulation then - we can assume their plan was to not gain any efficiency (or at least very much) - or maybe even lose some?

      Good argument for regulation then as far as I am concerned.
      And probably for some new people in business strategy regulatory compliance roles.

      This excuse is akin to "I was gonna do it, but my alarm didn't go off."

      Weak Honda... very weak.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's the corollary to greenwashing -- Greenwhining.

      Next they will be complaining that Obama's CAFE regulations caused their grandmother's gout. Of course everything is everyone else's fault but your own, Honda. Of course it is.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If they cant meet the 35.5 miles per US gallon required by 2016 then they will need to redesign the vehicle.

      My guess is that initial testing showed that the vehicle got worse mileage than the new ford focus. I am pretty sure that the new insight(41mpg) is seen as a fiasco because they released it at the same time as the new prius(50mpg).
      • 5 Years Ago
      WTF. Why were they trying to make the Civic larger?

      Trouble meeting fuel economy standards, in a Civic? This just strengthens my belief that they fired their engine designers in the 2000's and never rehired.

      I think sticking with the SOHC layout is, or has bit them in the ass. High tech DOHC motors are proving to be more efficient and have great torque curves. Just look at Ford's 3.7 as a fine example. And that's without direct injection.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Very true! The 1.5L VVT-i in the Scion xA I drove worked very well - nice power at highway speeds in 5th (3,500 rpm at only 65mph) noisy, but it worked well. I averaged 36.7 mpg over 24,000 miles, most of which was city driving. Not bad for a little gasser. Diesel with stop/start in a car that economic would have averaged well over 50mpg, easy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nice! I've driven a Yaris with that 1.5 and i agree, it has great torque characteristics.
        People with Yarises, Xa's, etc seem to complain about poor gas mileage a lot less too.

        That extra cam really makes a world of difference. Even my 2.0 in this Nissan will climb up a steep hill with the AC on and a fat passenger, in the wrong gear. I've driven a 2.2 Accord and it struggles to pull off such a feat.

        I have no idea why Honda is still stuck on using SOHC. They have taken it as far as it will go. I wonder if they are basically ditching the r18a for a DOHC layout, after spinning their wheels trying to make the SOHC put out good fuel/pwer numbers, causing the delay.

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