Bloomberg News

Honda Weighs Civic Revisions After Consumer Reports’ Criticism

November 04, 2011

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co. said it’s studying modifications to its Civic small car after a revamped version of the model fared poorly in a review by Consumer Reports, failing to win the magazine’s coveted “Recommended” status.

The 2012 Civic’s score in testing by the magazine fell to 61 points from 78 for the previous model. The latest version of Tokyo-based Honda’s best-selling compact declined in agility and interior quality, had a choppier ride, longer stopping distances, and more road noise compared with the previous generation, Consumer Reports said in August.

“One of Honda’s strengths has always been the ability to quickly react and recover fast,” John Mendel, the carmaker’s U.S. executive vice president, said in an interview in Carlsbad, California yesterday. “That’s what you’re going to see us do. I think you’ll see us take appropriate actions,” he said, without elaborating.

Honda models since the 1980s have consistently ranked among the most frequently recommended by the magazine published by Yonkers, New York-based Consumers Union, a non-profit group. Carmakers seek favorable evaluations from the magazine as its reviews are considered the most objective because of policies of not accepting advertising and buying every vehicle it tests.

Sales of Civic this year haven’t met Honda’s target, owing to limited inventory due to reduced parts supply after Japan’s record earthquake. Sales of the car, built at Honda plants in Ontario and Indiana, dropped 16 percent this year through September to 167,384.

North American Civic production began recovering in September, and Honda this month added a second manufacturing shift at its Greensburg, Indiana plant to boost supplies of the car.

Improved supply of all Honda models should lift its overall U.S. sales in October compared with a year ago, the first such increase since April, Mendel said. Deliveries of new Honda and Acura vehicles are down 5.8 percent this year through September.

Honda’s U.S. headquarters are based in Torrance, California.

--Editors: Chua Kong Ho, Garry Smith

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net


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