The all-new five-door Honda Civic hatchback arrives on sale almost a year after the sedan version, and is priced almost identically to that model. But the company reckons that while sales of the sedan have been strong, demand for hatches will see a sustainable spike in sales.
Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said the Civic hatch “won’t be incremental” in terms of its impact on sales numbers.
“We think maybe 10 per cent or so might substitute from the sedan to the hatch, but of course the hatch market is twice as big as the sedan market. So we’re expecting a strong result,” he said.
“Once we get hatch up and running we’d want to be doing a minimum of 1500 sedans and hatches per month. Of that, 60 per cent, roughly, will be the hatch. To be amongst the top players in that segment you need to be doing that sort of volume, at least.”
The Hyundai i30, another big seller and the only one of these small car models that doesn’t include a sedan in its sales (the Elantra plays its own game), has averaged just under 2100 a month ahead of an all-new model rolling out.
The Civic sedan, so far in 2017, has averaged 869 sales per month.
“We think this car is capable of it,” Collins said of pushing towards 2000 per month, before suggesting that, in the initial launch phase at least, the high-performance, manual-only, circa-$50K Civic Type R would add about 100 per month to that tally.
“Leading into Type R – which will be on sale in October – and that will be the icing on the cake,” he said. ”The dealers are holding a large number of orders – it’ll be the third piece of the puzzle, and really complete the range.”
Collins said that of the current sedan range, 60 per cent is made up of the turbocharged models in the line-up – so the VTi-L, RS and VTi-LX. The biggest-selling model overall for the sedan has been the RS, which is strong in its appeal to private buyers.
Part of the enhanced appeal for the new-generation Civic range is that it will, finally, look as though it’s meant to be.
In the previous generation of the sedan (from Thailand) and the hatch (from the UK), there was barely any resemblance apart from the badge on the tailgate.
But with the new model, there’s a lot more in common, and Collins reckons that can only be a good thing.
“We think it’s really important – from day one of this generation, and we’ve had product guys working on this for five years – our goal was to have a hatch and a sedan that look the same, have the same spec and essentially the same price. It just gives us that consistency in how we go to market.
"If you look at successful small cars, it’s a pretty good formula.”