In stark contrast with the rest of the world, Honda’s home market of Japan isn’t so hot on the Civic in sedan form, causing the automaker to decide to drop the four-door altogether there.
The falling demand for the 10th-generation Civic (FC) sedan in the Japanese market has been apparent for some time but, as with everything, has been hit even harder due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the last fiscal year, which only just ended, only 1,619 units were sold domestically.
Unfortunately, this newest Civic is following in the footsteps of its immediate predecessor, which was also prematurely axed from the Japanese domestic market following sagging sales numbers toward the end of its life cycle. This partly led to Honda exploring the hatchback form factor in the first place.
With a bold new design, more upmarket interior, and a turbocharged engine, the 10th-generation car marked new ground for the long-running nameplate. There was definitely hope that this newest effort would reinvigorate it in the eyes of the Japanese population, but that doesn’t seem to have played out exactly as Honda envisioned.
A quick glance along Japanese roads makes it quite apparent that the average car buyer there is, for some reason, interested in pretty much every other type of vehicle than a mid-size sedan, gladly choosing instead an MPV or a tiny kei car in addition to the ubiquitous crossover and SUV.
The C-segment Honda sedan, which is also available as a shorter-ended hatchback in Japan, is doing pretty well for itself abroad - nowhere near the volume of Honda’s crossovers and SUVs, naturally, but against its closest class rivals such as the Toyota Corolla and Subaru Impreza in Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America, the Civic is looking pretty rosy.
Personally, I also happen to think the Civic sedan looks so much better and finished than the hatch, and that it should be the latter dropping out of favour in Honda’s home market. Oh well.
Manufactured locally in Honda’s plant in Saitama, sold in Japan in both body styles and with an updated design and spec sheet following a 2019 facelift, the Civic is offered there with a sole engine option, that being the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder VTEC Turbo, which sends power to the front wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission.
Moving forward, there will no longer there be any Civics rolling off Japanese production lines, though the 10th-generation Civic hatchback will still be available for sale domestically. These cars will be brought in as imports from the automaker’s UK plant in Swindon along with examples of the Type R hot hatch, which are made exclusively in England.
Closer to home, if anything, the 10th-generation Civic has come out of the troubled first half of 2020 stronger than ever with Honda Malaysia delivering 425 units of the Civic 1.8S to the Royal Malaysia Police as their newest fleet of patrol cars.
The 2020 update to the local spec Civic has also been met positively, building on the success of the pre-facelift model by adding 18-inch wheels and the Honda Sensing active safety suite to the range-topping 1.5 TC-P variant.