Tuesday, May 23, 2000
Honda To Debut New Civic Model Worldwide In Sept

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Honda Motor Co. will launch a new model of its popular Civic subcompact on global markets in September, in its first attempt at a simultaneous worldwide release, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned Monday.

The automaker hopes to sell 800,000 a year of the new model, equal to just above 30% of Honda's global sales, company sources said.

Currently, about 700,000 Civics and 600,000 Accords are sold worldwide each year. Honda projects global sales of both cars will rise to about 60% of its total vehicle sales.

The automaker intends to increase the output volume for each model, taking advantage of mass production, the sources said. "We aim to become the world's top carmaker in terms of production efficiency," President Hiroyuki Yoshino said.

The company will begin to assemble the new model this summer at factories in Japan, the U.S., Europe and other parts of Asia.

The new Civic model, with an engine displacement of around 1.5 liters, will be offered as a sedan and small station wagon.

It is designed to earn the top ranking of five stars in U.S. collision safety tests, up from the current four stars, and to attain a fuel-efficiency rating of 20km a liter, the best among comparable models.

Honda is significantly reducing development costs through the use of common parts and other means, as well as cutting manufacturing costs by introducing general production lines and adding module-making sublines at its factories in Japan, the U.S. and Europe, the sources said.

(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Tuesday morning edition)