With the yen weak against the dollar, Japanese automakers like Honda, Nissan and Toyota are working hard to relocate production of U.S. market cars to the U.S.
Now it seems Honda has chosen the U.S. as its development base for the next-generation Honda Civic, due some time around 2016.
The announcement comes on the heels of last month’s news that all U.S.-market 2013 Honda Civics will be made in the U.S.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Erik Berkman, president of Honda R&D Americas said the decision was made last month by global top management, hinting that the next-generation Civic will have some “fairly substantial styling changes” over the existing model.
Berkman said Honda plans to build the next-generation Civic at 14 different plants and sell it in 160 countries worldwide, but said that 55 percent of all global Civic sales currently happen in Canada and the U.S.
Given that U.S. buyers and journalists alike criticized the then-new 2012 Civic for its cheap plastic interior and budget feel, forcing Honda to move forward a planned mid-cycle redesign, basing development of its successor in the U.S. is a smart move.
2012 Honda Civic EX
2012 Honda Civic EXEnlarge Photo
Development in the U.S. won’t just mean that the 2016 Civic will be more desirable to U.S. buyers either. It will hopefully be cheaper.
With the drive towards ever-more efficient cars and Honda’s ongoing commitment to greener engines, Berkman says the 2016 Civic will be offered with a variety of different powertrains, but gave no specifics on exactly which fuel types would be included.
Interestingly however, Berkman said Honda is considering reintroducing a hatchback Civic to its U.S. lineup.
Last sold in 2005, the hatchback Civic was dropped because of poor sales figures in the U.S. In Europe however, the Civic hatchback outnumbers sales of the Civic sedan by several orders of magnitude.
Of course, the 2016 Honda Civic won’t be the first Honda to be developed and built in the U.S. Earlier this year, Honda announced that its highly-anticipated Acura NSX hybrid supercar would be developed and built in the U.S. too.
But we should also note that it would be unusual for Honda to entrust the entire design and development of its popular C-segment car to designers and engineers outside Japan. We're not sure if this news means that the U.S. Civic will be unique to the country, or if the entire car and its underlying architecture will be U.S.-developed. Because the 2016 Civic will be a ground-up refresh on an all-new platform, either is possible.
What would you like to see offered on the 2016 Honda CIvic? Which features should Honda include?
Let us know in the Comments below.