There are plenty of ways to know an automaker has made a misstep. Diminished sales and high inventory are typical markers of a lackluster model, as is a paucity of critical acclaim. All three factors are currently weighting on the 2012 Honda Civic. And while stopping short of an actual apology, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito has reportedly stepped in to take responsibility for the model's reception. At a Tokyo Motor Show roundtable, Ito told media members that he takes full responsibility for the vehicle's meager performance in the United States and remarked that Honda takes input from world markets very seriously. The CEO also said that his company is working to discern the best course of action moving forward, acknowledging talk of an earlier-than-normal refresh to address the car's criticisms.

The redesigned Honda Civic hasn't found many fans since it debuted in April. Consumer Reports refused to recommend the vehicle for the first time in the car's history, and Dan Neil of The Wall Street Journal said that the new car "feels like a betrayal from Honda."

Ouch.

Not surprisingly, Automotive News reports that Civic sales have dropped by 15 percent while the rest of the automotive market has seen an increase of 10 percent compared to last year. While some of that fall may be due to supply issues brought about first by earthquake and tsunami activity in Japan and later by floods in Thailand, the reality is that the bread-and-butter compact simply isn't meeting expectations.