After the unveiling of the Honda Civic Concept at the New York auto show, we spoke to the exterior design leader of the concept car, Guy Melville-Brown (left in above photo).
Melville-Brown told us that, for the concept car, the design team's instructions were "basically ... to create the most charismatic, most ambitious, sportiest Civic we've ever made". In the end, Melville-Brown believes that the team has come up with "a car that Mr Honda himself would be proud of".
We enquired as to whether the concept and production versions of the next-gen Civic have taken design cues from previous generations. Melville-Brown insisted it "wasn't so much [about] design cues" or "interpreting things in this superifical way", but rather that the new car "embraces the philosophy" of the Civic and "embraces that emotion, virility and aggression that lives within the Honda brand".
The designer continued: "With the Civic, it almost needs to be a halo car within the Honda brand. This should really be an embrace of undiluted expression of everything that Honda stands for. That’s really what we kinda tried to key into with this car."
While the current generation sedan and coupe are clearly cut from the same cloth, they also feature different front and rear ends, including unique head- and tail-light treatments.
When asked if this relationship would continue for the next-generation Civic, Melville-Brown assured us we wouldn't have long to wait, as the sedan will be available in the US from the third quarter, with the coupe following in the northern winter.
He did add that we "can expect the same emotion, the same sporty, low, wide feel in the sedan as in this concept here". We pressed about shared components and looks between the two models, to which Melville-Brown responded, "There’s always a large amount of sharing between both cars, but the feeling that this car evokes, you can expect it too in the sedan and other derivatives".
The new Civic is the first global mainstream product that Honda's American arm has taken the lead in. The US division was responsible for the sedan and coupe models, while Europe was put in charge of the next-gen hatchback.
Similar to the differentiation between the coupe and sedan, the current Civic sedan employs divergent styling elements at the front and rear across various markets. According to Melville-Brown, "Honda always works hard to cater to different cultures and countries" so we can "expect a large number of derivatives in the forthcoming lineup".
John Mendel, executive vice president at American Honda, told us that the production vehicle will be very faithful to concept car revealed today at the New York show.