When Honda launched its D-Segment (Premium Sedan) offering – the Civic in the Indian Sub-continent during 2006; it never expected it’d amass such a fan following for years to come. The product was internationally the Eight Generation model and was an instant hit in India. It sold ~10,000 units in the first 6 months of the launch, a feat that the Japanese Automaker wouldn’t have even dreamt about. And yes, the model deserved the love and success it garnered then – It was generations ahead than the competition models available and it helped Honda enhance its premium brand imagery as well. Civic was Honda’s fourth offering in the Indian market – after City (1998), Accord (2001) and CR-V (2003). Civic set new records in the segment – over 17k units sold in a single calendar year and still holds the record till date. It was the segment leader in the first year of the launch itself and even the global best selling brands (like the Corollas’ or the Camrys’) couldn’t match its feat – the highest that a Corolla sold in India in a Calendar Year is ~10k units.
See how the Civic fared during the eight years of its existence in India –
The success run of Civic was halted by the global recession in 2009; and Indian consumers shift towards Diesel led them to opt for other brands (such as the Cruze). While Honda saw consistent decline year-on-year; it decided to pull the plug on the model in the year 2013. The intent was to focus on mass-volume models such as the Amaze (which was launched in Apr’2013). While we would’ve expected Honda to bring the Ninth-Generation Civic in the Indian market later; the Japanese manufacturer omitted it considering the low volumes it had to offer. However, the decision backfired and the OEM somehow weakened its tag as a premium car manufacturer. While the Civic saw an another upgrade with the Tenth Generation Avatar in 2016; Indian Consumers were kept away from it.
Honda has now shown signs of launching the Tenth Gen model in the upcoming year and it is definitely a positive sign from the Japanese Carmaker. The highlights of the latest gen Civic is as follows:
- All New Design – Continuing the legacy; the Civic looks futuristic both from outside and inside. It has a very pronounced coupé-like roofline and a notchback rear section. It sports a bold chrome bar across the grille (which Honda terms as solid wing face design) and LED accents.
- Engine Options – Honda is now equipped to offer both Petrol & Diesel variants in India. It has a wide range of options in hand – from a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol to a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine, Honda is expected to bring the Civic with the new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine as well. Also you could expect Honda’s 120hp 1.6-litre diesel engine that is currently on sale in international markets.
- Better Chassis – As per Honda, the current-gen Civic uses the most sophisticated chassis in the nameplate’s history. An infusion of ultra high-strength steel has improved torsional rigidity by a massive 25 percent. This could lead to segment-leading driving dynamics.
- Competitive Price – Considering Honda’s foothold in the Indian market for over 20 years, the OEM could stretch for enviable levels of localization and thus launch the model at a very competitive price.
We expect Honda to take the right call and launch the model as soon as possible. This will not only help it regain its premium badge but also enhance its overall volumes. The 16-20 Lakh Rupees segment is now devoid of options and needs a worthy product to revive the numbers – Civic could surely fit in here!