Honda is confident that its tenth-generation Civic small passenger range will become the company’s top-selling model, when the hatchback model joins forces with the already-launched sedan in May.
If the Japanese car-maker’s prediction is accurate, the completed Civic range will knock Australia’s current favourite Honda – the HR-V – from the top spot despite strong and consistent sales of the compact SUV since its introduction in early 2015.
In boot-boosted sedan form, the Civic is already giving the compact SUV a run for its money with 1703 registrations to the end of February this year versus 2005 for the HR-V, but that order is set for a shake-up, says Honda.
Speaking at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told WhichCar that the Civic would “absolutely” become the company’s top seller with a majority of the volume coming from the imminent hatchback as well as lower number of sales from the mighty Type R that will arrive toward the end of 2017.
“I think as an entire Civic product line, absolutely,” he said. “There will be a little bit of cannibalisation when hatch comes but not a great amount so hatch should be on top.
“Type R will be a smaller volume but I think it’s having all three for the first time so I think it will definitely be our number-one seller.”
While the forecast could see combined sales of hatch and sedan models exceed as many as 1000 per month, the Type R is being charged with a different task, according to Mr Collins.
“We think it’s going to go really well, but it’s not a huge volume proposition for us but we want to position it right in the sweet-spot of those hot hatches. The most important thing is that it’s really a halo for Civic but also a halo for our brand.”
Collins also confirmed that Honda’s local operation will not be offering a more affordable version of the Type R that will be offered in some other markets, with Australians set to receive the most feature-filled variant only.
“We’ll bring one spec and make it the top spec. Our strategy is to bring it with the lot,” he said.
When it arrives in the fourth quarter of this year, the most fearsome Civic will continue Honda’s plan to invigorate a sportier persona for the company, alongside the highly exclusive NSX sportscar and less potent RS variants of the Civic.
“The RS Civic sedan and hatch also – they’re not out and out sportscars but it really does dial-up the sportiness. We’re going to take every opportunity to do that.”
“NSX is the pinnacle, Type R is the next example.”
Fans of hot Hondas will delight in the return of the Civic Type R which was denied for Australia in its previous generation due to production constraints and timing.
In addition to the proliferating line-up of more performance-focused models, Honda is continuing to enhance its heritage of motorsport and more involving vehicles through participation in the Formula One racing series.
“Globally, Honda realised that we need to dial up that sportiness that we lost for a little while. F1 is one example of that and I think NSX is an example.”