The all-new US-spec 2012 Honda Civic launched this past spring and immediately the Civic was criticized for its boring redesign and lower quality than previous Civics. Consumer Reports even took the Civic off its “recommended” list because CR claimed that the 2012 Civic has a lower quality interior, rides worse and has more road noise than the previous model.
The Civic’s poor reception combined with reduced inventory have resulted in a 15 percent sales drop in the first 10 months of this year, while the market is up 10 percent. Honda’s CEO Takanobu Ito has now taken full responsibility for the Civic’s decline in the U.S. market.
According to the Automotive News, Ito stated, “The ultimate responsibility rests with me. We take inputs from the various markets with sincerity and try to work out the best actions for what we have observed. Those decisions rest with me.”
Since the new Civic was under development when the U.S. economy imploded in 2008. Honda predicted that buyers would want lowered priced cars with less features. Honda’s prediction was wrong, which has been a blessing for the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Chevy Cruze, which have all received full redesigns with more available equipment.
In order to fix the Civic’s troubles Honda is going to move up its redesign, according to American Honda executive vice president John Mendel. It’s mid-cycle change could come as early as the 2013 calendar year, which would be a year ahead of Honda’s typical schedule.