Honda UK boss Ken Keir predicts that the new Civic, unveiled at the Paris motor show, will raise its new car sales in the UK to “around 90,000” next year.
“We're going to be aggressive with the sales approach to the new Civic,” Mr Keir said. “We intend to take sales from all the leading manufacturers including Peugeot, Rover, Ford and Vauxhall.”
He believes the 5dr version, on sale in January, will be key to raising sales by 10,000 a year on the current Civic.
“We are doing 20,000 5dr and 8,000 3dr annually,” he said. “We believe the new model will ultimately reach 30,000 for the 5dr with the 3dr, which is a clearly-defined market, maintaining the current 8,000 level. Bolstered by increasing demand for CR-V, HR-V and Accord, we believe we will comfortably reach 90,000 sales.”
The 5dr model will be joined by a 2dr coupe and 3dr hatch later in the year. It is understood a Type-R sport version is also planned.
Honda claims the new Civic will be a bonus for dealers, who were consulted at design clinics held in Frankfurt, Germany.
It is expected to lower the average age of Civic buyers from 57 to 39 years, and increase the proportion of female customers from 30% to 40%.
Honda has invested £130m in a second assembly line at its Swindon plant to accommodate a new supermini, which replaces the Logo. Production begins next summer.
Much of the investment has been spent on developing 'taikai', a flexible manufacturing process that Honda is introducing worldwide.
At Swindon, it has allowed the CR-V to be added to the Accord and Civic assembly line.