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New Civic has 'benefited from its delayed launch'

Honda has begun gearing up for some much needed new product with the launch of the all new Civic at the Frankfurt Show.

The car goes on sale on January 3 – a year later than originally expected.

David Hodgetts, managing director of Honda UK, said the launch of the new model had been delayed following the economic crash, a decision taken at headquarters in Japan.

“It was decided to wait and see what the market would look like post-crash and I have to say it was the right decision even though the outgoing model has been around for more than five years.

“The car we have coming now is more efficient and has lower CO2 than what we would have seen a year ago.”

Honda dealers have felt the pain, however, as its declining new car sales have seen the Japanese brand lose more than a percentage point in market share since 2009, leading to fewer lucrative service opportunities.

With a CO2 figure of 110g/km and a power output of 150hp, Hodgetts said the new Civic “hits all the right buttons” in terms of corporate sales.

He added: “No doubt, it has been a tough time with the economic situation and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan which hit Honda as hard as anyone.

“We have been on half production since April, but last week our Swindon factory, where the new Civic is built, returned to full production.”

During that lean period, he said that the company was focused on getting what cars it could to customers with dealers allowed no new demonstrators or stock vehicles.

Honda UK expects to sell around 26,000 new Civics next year, rising to 30,000 in 2013 following the launch of a new small diesel – believed to be around 1.6-litres – which will also go into the new CR-V due to be launched a year from now.

Hodgetts said over the next four years the whole Honda car line-up will be renewed along with the entire engine range.

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