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Honda does Civic by halves

Price leader: The $19,250 Honda Civic Hatch is cheaper than all of its main competitors, and $3400 cheaper than before.

$20,000 cheaper than the 2009 model, Honda’s Civic Hatch finally hits its straps

10 Dec 2012

HONDA has halved the price of entry to its Civic Hatch range in just three years, with the latest round of roll-backs of $3000 or more making the British-made five-door small car’s list price one of the cheapest in its class at $19,250 (or $22,650 driveaway).

The move down-market is paying dividends in the showroom, with Civic sales up 62 per cent for the first 11 months of this year and topping 1560 sales in November – up 250 per cent on the same month last year, and its best monthly sales since June 2008.

In 2009, the most affordable previous-generation Civic Hatch in Australia, the up-market Si manual, had a list price of $39,790 (plus on-road costs).

Through price and specification cuts, the cost has been progressively reduced since then, chopped to $32,290 in November 2010 and then to $29,990, before the arrival of the all-new model in June this year at $22,650 for the lower-specified Civic Hatch VTi-S manual.

Honda last month slashed $3400 from that price as part of its annual clearance across its model range, even though the Civic Hatch has been on the market less than six months.

15 center imageFrom top: Current Honda Civic hatch and interior previous generation Honda Civic Si hatch.

This brought the price of the Civic VTi-S hatch down from $22,650 to $19,250, and the top-level VTi-L automatic down from $29,990 to $26,990.

Honda has now confirmed that the sale price has become the permanent list price, at least until the arrival of an updated 2013 model in the first half of next year.

The 2012 hatchback VTi-S manual is now cheaper than rivals such as the top-selling Mazda3 Neo Hatch ($20,330), new Toyota Corolla Ascent manual ($19,990), Hyundai i30 Active Hatch ($20,990) and Holden Cruze CD Hatch ($21,490).

Honda Australia spokesman Lindsay Smalley told GoAuto that the 2013 model would bring equipment changes, likely resulting in a price realignment.

Civic Hatch is expected to get a diesel variant for the first time, marking the debut of Honda’s new-generation Earth Dreams engine line-up in Australia.

Although Honda is keeping other model-year tweaks under wraps until launch time, they might include items such as cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity on the base model in line with competitors.

Mr Smalley said Civic pricing reflected the company’s commitment to its dealers to provide products with mass appeal.

He said the appreciation of the Australian dollar had helped achieve the price reductions, but added: “There is a certain amount of pain in this.

“But we made a commitment to our dealers and we are standing by it.” Mr Smalley said forward orders for Civic Hatch remained strong in December, running at about 1000 units a month.

“Civic is selling its socks off,” he said.

While Honda imports its Civic sedan from Thailand, the hatchback comes from its Swindon plant in England.

Mr Smalley said Honda had no plans to switch Civic hatchback sourcing to Thailand.

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