Everybody knows America’s Honda Civic isn’t the same one Europe and other markets get. It’s different, see, and that’s probably what will keep the insane 2016 Civic Type R out of our hands. But the days of cars unique to different markets is largely over; we’re in the era of the world car now, and that may be a good thing for Americans who want a Civic hatchback again.
Japan’s Nikkei reports that Honda is retooling its European operations in the wake of a recovering market there that has largely left them and other Japanese automakers in the dust. Europe will get the HR-V subcompact from Mexico and the Fit, which they call the Jazz, from Japan.
Where does that leave the plant in Swindon, England that makes their Civic? Here’s what the Nikkei says:
That will leave Honda’s sole European plant with even more idle machinery. So the facility will be used to manufacture a five-door version of the Civic for export to North America starting as early as the summer of 2016. Annual output is projected at 30,000 to 40,000 units.
The factory in Swindon can roll out 250,000 cars a year, but of its two lines, one with a capacity of 100,000 vehicles has been idle since the spring of 2014 because of slumping sales. Building the Civic hatchback for North America will boost the plant’s operating rate.
I know 30,000 to 40,000 units annually sounds like a lot, but it’s a relatively small amount for the Honda Civic — Honda moves about 20,000 to 30,000 of them per month in the U.S. But it would give them something to compete against the Ford Focus and Mazda3 hatchbacks.
The current European Civic hatchback has been around a few years now but it isn’t built to U.S. specs, so Honda could federalize it, but as Car and Driver notes a more likely scenario is that this hatchback will be the next-generation Civic instead. Rumor has it that car will be a global product, much like the Focus, which again makes a lot more sense.
A Civic hatch would be nice here, but where does this leave the new 310 horsepower Type R? No word yet, but if the base car is finally U.S. spec, I’d say our chances of getting it just got a hell of a lot better. The 2.0-liter turbo VTEC four in that car is a brand-new engine, so it stands to reason it would carry over into the next Civic Type R, maybe with some tweaks.
I like where this is going. Let’s hope this scenario becomes a reality. America deserves a decent Civic, and the Type R.
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