Honda Civic Hatchback Will Make A Return To The U.S.
My first car was 1982 Honda Civic 1500 DX three-door hatchback. Color options were limited to brown, beige and silver. It was an honest car with an honest five-speed transmission. I wish I still had it. Honda Civic’s hatchback offerings in North America have dried up since then — the last one being the Civic Si sold in the first half of the 2000s — but current rumors suggest the Civic hatchback could return in the form of the European market Civic built at the Honda plant in Swindon, England.
According to The Truth About Cars, citing reports from Japan’s Nikkei, the Swindon plant has been running at well below its capacity of 250,000 cars per year, with two of its lines, one capable of 100,000 cars per year, sitting idle. Idle equipment is an obvious financial burden on a company, so in attempt to cut its losses, the plant could begin building between 30,000 and 40,000 additional Civic hatchbacks in the summer of 2016, destined for the North American market.
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Why it matters
Does this mean the recently unveiled 305-horsepower Civic Type R will be landing on our continent? Unlikely. The Type R is the high-performance swan song for the ninth-generation European Civic, which, with its torsion beam rear suspension, is more closely related to the Fit and is not type approved for sales in North America. The Civics coming here in 2016 will most likely be the first model year of the redesigned 10th-generation Civic. We could get a Type R version of that car, but it would be several years off.
In addition to addressing some of Honda’s production logistics problems, a five-door Civic would also help it compete in the flourishing North American five-door market, which includes the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Mazda 3 and Mini 4 Door. These are only rumors at this point, but because Honda has been losing money in Europe for most the last five years, it’s a move that makes sense.
The potential for a North America-bound Civic hatchback coincides with a realignment of European operations. Honda will bolster its European lineup with cars imported from Mexico, and much of the company’s European-based employees and operations will be repatriated back to Japan. Sounds like Honda HQ in Japan has lost patience with its European arm.
Let’s hope it works out, but, personally, I’m just looking forward to having more color options for my next Civic hatchback.