Honda CEO Takanobu Ito stepped up and assumed responsibility for the Honda Civic’s miserable start in the United States, telling Automotive News that “The ultimate responsibility rests with me.”
The Civic was left off the Consumer Reports list of recommended vehicles, a rarity for any Honda product. Cheap interior materials were blamed, and many reviewers reported dull styling and driving dynamics as other disappointments. Civic sales are down 15 percent this year, and Honda product planners are hoping for a model refresh as soon as 2013, well ahead of Honda’s usual vehicle schedule.
While Honda decided to stick with a smaller footprint and reduced content for the new Civic (betting on a downward economy) competitors like Hyundai, Chevrolet and Ford went in the opposite direction, offering advanced features like backup cameras, self-parking, powerful engines and bold styling. This approach won out in the end, with the Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus reporting strong sales in the segment.
[Source: Automotive News]