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.