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Detroit show: Honda Civic shows its face

Civic duty: Honda's latest Civic small sedan is set to go public at the Detroit motor show in January.

Motown debut for ninth-generation Honda Civic sedan due Down Under in late 2011

Honda logo15 Dec 2010

By RON HAMMERTON

HONDA’S new Civic sedan is set to get a sportier face ahead of its arrival in Australia in late 2011, judging from this sketch of a Civic ‘concept’ to be shown at the Detroit motor show in January.

The show will provide the first glimpse in the flesh of the ninth-generation Civic, which Honda Australia will get in sedan form from its current source in Thailand.

Spy shots circulating on the internet indicate the Civic is about the same size as the current model and perhaps a little more conservative than the newly released drawing might suggest.

Honda is holding back details of the new car, with no word yet on powertrains, equipment levels or new technologies.

Honda Australia spokesman Mark Higgins confirmed today that the Civic sedan was scheduled to be launched in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2011 – a few months after its showroom debut in the United States.

He also confirmed that production of the sedan for Australia would remain in Thailand.

15 center imageLeft: Honda Civic VTi Sedan. Below: Honda Civic Si.

The current model – launched in early 2006 – has been hampered by the lack of an affordable hatch variant, with only the pricey British-made Civic Si and Type R hatchbacks providing support for the mainstream Civic sedan.

That situation is unlikely to change in the next generation, with Honda executives telling GoAuto in August that there were no plans for a hatchback out of Thailand – Honda’s main export base to Australia.

This year, Civic sales in Australia have remained largely static, up just 1.5 per cent in a market segment up 11.4 per cent.

While Honda has sold 9628 Civics in the 11 months to the end of November, rival Mazda has sold 35,584 Mazda3s – almost as many cars as Honda’s entire range.

American reports suggest the new Civic – which will also go into production in the US, which is the sedan’s prime target market – is running six months later than originally scheduled, due to the global financial crisis.

The Civic will be just one of a bumper crop of new small cars to hit the market in 2011, with Holden’s locally-made Cruze and Ford’s new Focus among the highlights.

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