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Honda committed to Civic, despite sales dive, with hybrid coming in 2022 and Type R hot hatch in 2023

The new-gen Civic has found just 263 buyers so far in 2022.

Honda Australia has admitted the Civic small car is no longer the jewel in its crown as it once was, but remains dedicated to the nameplate despite shifting its focus towards more popular SUVs.

Speaking to CarsGuide, Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins said the long-running Civic now takes a backseat to the HR-V and CR-V – and likely incoming ZR-V – high-riders.

“Civic now plays a different role,” he said.

“Civic for us in the previous generation was a volume game – sedan, hatch, base grade, mid-grade, top grade, every grade – but now, I guess given our strategy in SUVs, it plays a different role.

“We’re still extremely committed to the Civic name; it’s got such a heritage.”

Now in its 11th iteration, the latest Civic arrived in Australian showrooms late last year, offered in a single, highly-specified VTi-LX grade priced at $47,200 driveaway.

So far this year, Honda has managed to sell just 263 new Civics after four months of trading, well off the pace of the segment-leading Hyundai i30 (7924), Toyota Corolla (7239) and Mazda3 (4641).

For reference, the Civic was averaging around 600 sales a month just a few years ago in 2020, albeit with a more expansive line-up and a different focus.

Back then, prior to Honda’s shift to an agency sales model, the Civic was in its 10th-generation phase and was available in hatch and sedan shape, the latter of which is now discontinued in Australia due to slowing interest.

“The small sedan market is following the exact same trend, unfortunately, as large sedans and its declining at a rapid rate,” Mr Collins said.

“I remember when we launched the previous-generation sedan, we were doing a thousand a month. If we kept our same share now, we’d be doing less than a hundred a month.”

Despite the shrinking Civic line-up and sales numbers, Mr Collins said he still sees the small-car segment playing an important role going forward.

“I think there is [a future for small cars in Australia], and I would hope so,” he said.

“Small cars are no longer really small cars; small cars are what medium and some large cars used to be.

“At the end of the day, it’s the customers who determine whether those cars are going to continue or not, and I would hope they do because I like them, I like small hatches.”

(Image credit: Thanos Pappas) (Image credit: Thanos Pappas)

And to that end, Honda will expand its Civic line-up in the near future, with the hybrid version due to land before year’s end, and the Type R hot hatch likely in 2023.

The Civic hybrid, known as the e:HEV, produces 135kW/315Nm from a 2.0-litre petrol engine and dual-electric motor set-up, and will compete directly against the hot-selling Toyota Corolla Hybrid.

However, while the Civic hybrid will compete in technology, it will likely wear a higher pricetag than its Toyota rival, which starts from $27,395 before on-road costs.

Meanwhile, the new-generation Civic Type R will be revealed mid-year, when Australian timing will also be locked in.

Though the car has been teased, very little information has been confirmed for the Honda’s latest hot hatch.

Rumours point to the brand reusing the outgoing models 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine and front-drive set-up, with outputs at least likely to match its predecessor’s 228kW/400Nm figures.