Honda North America will lead development for the next-gen U.S.-spec Honda Civic, Erik Berkman, president of Honda R&D Americas, announced at the Center for Automotive Research Briefing Seminars in Michigan. The next-gen compact is expected to arrive as a 2017 or 2018 model.
"I am pleased that a team of engineers in America will have a major responsibility for the development of the next-generation Civic," Berkman said in his speech. "We've got a pretty good track record with the Civic…starting with the 1993 Civic Coupe. ...Now, we will take on the larger challenge of leading development for the next-generation Civic sedan and coupe for this market."
Creating a new and improved Civic will be the latest challenge for the American R&D team, which is also playing a significant role in the creation of the new Acura NSX supercar. Previously, the team helped engineer the 2006 Civic coupe, which was part of the compact car lineup that earned much praise. Here's what we said about the 2006 Civic.
"Honda generally raises the small-car bar with each succeeding Civic generation, but it failed to do so with the 2001 model. The company redeems itself for 2006."
Many Honda fans felt the redesigned 2012 Honda Civic did exactly what the 2006 model avoided – play it safe. Before the American team leads the design of the next-generation Civic, though, Honda is addressing the wrongs critics found in the U.S.-spec 2012 Honda Civic. The new compact sedan and coupe were just introduced last year, but Honda is already planning a refresh possibly for the 2013 model year, with improvements to the interior and exterior.
“While [the 2012 Honda Civic] received some mixed reviews, our customers have made it the best-selling compact car in America this year,” Berkman said. “Still, our goal is not to be best-selling...our target is best.”
One of the team's first successes was the 1993 Civic coupe. Berkman notes that 30 percent of the automaker’s North American lineup was developed here. Taking that into consideration, we don’t see why the team couldn’t bring forth a groundbreaking next-generation Civic that wowed us as much as the 2006 Civic. While the upcoming refreshed Honda Civic will be on the streets before long, we'll just have to patiently wait and see what Honda's North American R&D has in store for the next-generation model.