This is the final update on our time with the Honda Civic and after expressing my views, those of other publications, of Honda UK boss Phil Webb and reviewing the data, it seems fair to turn to Honda’s dealers for their views.
As the car heads back to Honda HQ, I asked David Cox, managing director of Cox Motor Group and Honda dealer council chairman, for his and his fellow retailers’ appraisal of the car.
Cox is happy with sales volumes, believing the car to be “selling well” in the UK, Europe and the US, the latter a significant market for Honda. This means a boost for Swindon, home of the current 10th-generation Civic, from where 90% of production is for export.
“Customer reaction has been very positive from the start and the new model is seen by all as a significant upgrade from the previous model,” said Cox.
However, the car’s success has produced some concern. While Cox said Honda Motor Europe “seems to be balancing demand very well”, he added: “The UK network has questioned whether Swindon can produce enough cars for our domestic market with such a large customer base demanding cars abroad.”
The new Civic diesel is also potentially a challenge for dealers. Launched in March, the revised version of the maker’s 1.6 i-DTEC engine has CO2 emissions of just 93g/km and combined mpg of 80.7. But the global concern around diesel emissions, and in particular the change in fleets’ buying habits – a key target market for Civic diesel – has led to a 29% fall in year-to-date registrations, consequently weakening interest.
Cox said: “It really is a fantastic car. But despite its absolutely remarkable mpg figures and excellent driving ability, like many diesels, it is finding the going a little tough.”