DETROIT (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co. is counting on a new version of its Civic small car that will go on sale this spring to drive gains in 2011 after losing sales and market share to rivals in 2010.
Honda showed off two concept versions of the upcoming Civic coupe and sedan that executives said were very close to the production version of the vehicles that will arrive in U.S. showrooms this spring as a 2012 model.
John Mendel, Honda U.S. chief sales executive, said he was counting on energized sales in 2011 from the ninth-generation of the Civic, which has been sold in the United States since 1972.
Mendel, speaking to reporters this week at the Detroit auto show, said the Civic would compete in a compact car market that is more crowded than before. New entrants include the new Ford Focus and the Chevrolet Cruze.
"From Honda's standpoint, it really kind of sharpens our spirit of competition," Mendel said. "For years we've been several laps ahead in a 500 mile race. Now, there's more and more competitors approaching the same lap as we are."