Honda Cars India today introduced the latest iteration of the Civic sedan in the country, at a starting price of Rs 17.70 lakh ex-showroom, India for the base petrol automatic. The entire range comprises five variants - three in petrol and two in diesel - where a 1.6-litre turbocharged unit has made way into the company's D1 segment model for the first time. The range tops at Rs 22.30 lakh for the diesel manual.
The Civic, which is a globally successful model and is sold in over 170 markets across the world, has seen cumulative sales of over 25 million units, with the car also commanding good admiration and aspiration in the Indian market. Honda is bringing the Civic to India after a hiatus of almost seven years when the previous model (8th-generation) was discontinued back in 2011.
The company is taking the CKD route again to introduce the car in the Indian market and is starting off with a fairly low localisation level of 30 percent, with possibility of further localising components based on reasonable sales volumes. The Civic, along with its premium sibling CR-V and the C-segment benchmark City, will be built at the company's Greater Noida plant, which holds annual capacity of 100,000 units. Honda says it has no plans to export the Civic from India and production is meant specifically for the domestic market.
The new Civic offers contemporary styling and comes with connectivity and safety features abound. The car gets a 17.7cm touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it comes equipped with Honda LaneWatch - company's proprietary blind-spot detection system and a multi-view reversing camera.
Honda is offering the new Civic with a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol and a 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel, which is a first for the Civic. While the petrol is BS VI compliant, the company will introduce a BS VI version of the diesel once regulations come into play. The new car is 22kg lighter over its outgoing 9th generation model globally and at the same time gains 25 percent in torsional stiffness owing to material technology. Honda is claiming ARAI-tested fuel efficiency figures of 16.5kpl and 26.8kpl for the petrol and diesel respectively.
Aser its internal tests based on the ASEAN NCAP's parameters, the Civic has scored a full five-star rating at Honda's crash test facility in Tochigi, in Japan. There are host of active and passive safety systems working on the car including six airbags, ISOFIX, DRLs, hill-start-assist, vehicle stability assist and rear parking sensors.
Honda says that with the Civic, it now has a complete sedan line-up in the country and can cater to the customer at every step of upgradation in the market. It however, misses out on an entry-level hatchback, where after the recently discontinued Brio, the company has no plans to get into that segment in the mid-term.
“The Amaze will continue to remain our entry-level offering in the near future and we are quite confident of it fulfilling that role as 30 percent of the Amaze's sales are from first-time buyers, said Rajesh Goel, SVP and director, Marketing and Sales, Honda Cars India (HCIL).
According to Gaku Nakanishi, president and CEO, HCIL, "Current fiscal FY18-19 has been one of the most busiest years for Honda Cars India, with new launches - Amaze and CR-V - seeing growing sales.”
“HCIL has escalated to the No. 1 position in Honda's Asia Oceania region business in 2018”, he continued to add.
"The market has been really tough and it is digressing from the performance over the last 4-5 years, but at the same time, given good demand for our models, we expect to close the year ahead of the industry,” he added.
On whether Honda will enhance its focus on electric vehicles given the strong push coming from the government, Nakanishi mentioned that “We will continue to maintain our stand taken at the MOVE Summit in September 2018 that hybrids are the way forward and we will aim to bring such technologically advanced yet affordable solutions for the Indian market.”
The company aims to shift its entire product portfolio to BS VI, including both petrol and diesel variants to meet the upcoming regulations and let its offerings be available to the consumer.