DETROIT -- Honda Motor Co. today unveiled concepts of its 2012 Civic compact coupe and Civic sedan in what is becoming a crowded and competitive compact segment with the advent of the new Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus.
The planned ninth generation of the popular Civic has a sleeker and more athletic stance than the current model, said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda.
Honda showed only the exterior styling today, with the unveiling of the interior to come in the near future, Mendel said.
The 2012 Civic lineup will include a sedan and a coupe with conventional gasoline models, two sporty “Si” performance versions, along with one hybrid and a natural gas alternative-fuel variant, he said.
The Civic is planning an Internet marketing pitch to capitalize on the popularity of the vehicle with young people, Mendel said. About 90,000 of Civics sold last year were to people under 35 years old.
A new campaign, called the Sounds of Civic, will allow musicians and amateurs to post on the Honda Web site songs written saluting their Civics.
The carmaker will announce prizes later, Mendel said.
No engine details
Honda didn't release any engine details for the new Civic, but expect a four-cylinder engine lineup, which will include a base version and a higher-output variant for the sportier Si trim. The current Civic uses a 1.8-liter, 140-hp I4, while the Si features a 2.0-liter, 197-hp I4.
Honda's recent decision to delay the introduction of the new Civic has fueled rumors that the automaker scrapped work on the sedan and went back to the drawing board. However, a Honda spokesman said this was not the case. The delay held up the introduction of the new Civic by only three or four months, and the changes were made in response to market demand, the spokesman said.
The result is a car that is evolutionary. Dimensions are close to the current vehicle. The suspension retains MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup in back.
When the new Civic coupe and sedan hits showrooms, base pricing should match up closely to the current car's price: $16,355 for the coupe and $16,555 for the sedan.
Jonathan Wong is a reporter for AutoWeek.