Honda wants to win over younger buyers with a new, sleeker Civic.
Restoring the lower-medium segment Civic's sporty character should make it appeal to the "young and the young at heart with a passion to drive," said Shigeru Takagi, Honda Europe's chief operating officer.
Typical Civic buyers are currently in their 50s, but the new car should appeal to younger customers, he said.
The new Civic was unveiled as a near-production concept at the Geneva show. Production will begin by the end of the year at Honda's factory in Swindon, England. Sales start in January.
A third of new Civic sales are expected to be diesel versions.
The current Civic, unveiled at the 2001 Geneva show, is a more sedate model than its predecessors.
Takagi said Honda decided to make the eighth-generation Civic "a fun, sporty car" similar to earlier models.
"The Civic is a major pillar for Honda in Europe, but recently we have lost a bit of momentum. We want to go back to the basics," said Takagi.
The current Civic is in its fifth sales year and is expected to match last year's 75,000-unit volume in Europe. But starting next year with the new model, Takagi anticipates an increase in unit sales of 50 percent or more.
A third of new Civic sales are expected to be versions sold with Honda's new 2.2-liter diesel engine.