Honda believes it has overcome the quality issues and technical hiccups that have dogged the Civic since its launch in 2006. It is confident that customer satisfaction with the car will not be affected.
According to dealers, the Civic has been issued with around 10 recalls and product updates, including fuel caps that wouldn’t open, squeaky shock absorbers and handbrake problems.
The problems were put down to the global launch of the Swindon-built car being in the UK; usually Honda cars go on sale a year earlier in its Japanese home market which gives the company time to iron out problems.
One dealer service manager said: “We have had more shock changes on this car than on all Hondas combined in the past.
“We replaced them for squeaks; then the replacements needed replacing.”
His fear is that with 55% of Civic buyers being conquests and first-time Honda customers, dealers might struggle to keep them loyal.
Ken Keir, Honda Motor Europe senior vice-president and Honda UK managing director, told AM that Honda had put huge resource into reviewing and sorting out the problems.
“We took the decision to be pro-active,” he said. “For example, the fuel cap was a product update not a recall.
We could’ve just asked dealers to fix it the next time the car was in the workshop, but we went straight to the customers, even though not all of them were affected.
Because we were upfront, customers haven’t minded.”
Bernard Bradley, Honda UK general manager – cars, added: “On a monthly basis I review where we are with Civic drivers and those that have faced the issues. I’m satisfied we are on top of it.”
Bradley doesn’t expect any recurrence when the facelifted Civic comes to the UK next year.
He is confident that dealers will still enjoy high levels of loyalty and repeat buys.