Widely popular across several international markets including US and Europe, Honda Civic sedan has been discontinued in Japan
This is the second time Civic sedan has been discontinued in its home market. Civic was earlier discontinued in Japan in 2010 and resurrected in 2017. Something similar happened in the Indian market, where Civic was discontinued in 2013 and bought back in its 10th generation avatar in March 2019.
The first Civic was launched in Japan way back in 1972 and since then the Civic range has been expanded to include other products such as hatchback and station wagon. Honda’s decision to discontinue Civic sedan in its home market is likely due to waning popularity of the car in Japan. In comparison, Civic continues to be one of Honda’s bestsellers in various international markets including India.
Civic sedan sales in Japan during 2019-20 financial year were 1,619 units, something that clearly indicates towards its weakening popularity in its home market. Other Honda cars have shown much better results, for example, Honda N-Box Kei sold more than 250,000 units during the same period. While there is nothing wrong with Civic sedan per se, current trends indicate that customer preferences are evolving in the Japanese market.
Local factors come into play, for example, the heavy traffic in Japanese cities, shortage of parking spaces and higher taxes announced by the government for large cars in the country. That’s why smaller kei cars are gaining popularity in Japan. These are similar to the entry-level hatchbacks in the Indian market. Customers in Japan buying smaller cars can make significant gains in the form of lower vehicle excise tax, automobile weight tax, automobile liability insurance premiums and annual road tax.
Honda will stop production of Civic in Japan in August 2020. However, other products such as Civic Type R model and 5-door hatchback will continue to be on sale in Japan. These will be imported into Japan from UK. By 2021, Honda will be shutting down its production plants in Swindon, UK and Kocaeli, Turkey. In that scenario, Civic could be produced exclusively in the US. It is also possible that Honda might produce Civic at a new plant in Europe.
In the Indian market, 10th gen Civic had a good start with more than 2,400 bookings received in the month of launch, last year. This was significantly more than the total sales of other sedans in this class such as Hyundai Elantra, Skoda Octavia and Toyota Corolla. Indian-spec Civic 10th generation was launched with BS6 petrol engine and BS4 diesel engine.
Earlier this month, Honda announced pre-bookings for its Civic diesel BS6, which comes with a 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel engine. Honda Civic BS6 diesel can be pre-booked at company authorized dealerships or via the online booking platform called ‘Honda From Home’.