Fleet News

Honda boasts its British pedigree

BRITISH built and proud of it - that's the message emanating from Honda as it unveiled 'pace-setting' prices for the all-new five-door Civic at the show. The Swindon-built car will go on sale in January next year and will be sold alongside the current Civic 1.4i Sport five-door which will remain in production until February next year

In announcing prices for the car at the show, Honda's head of cars, Mark Davies, said: 'We have set out to offer UK customers the very best value our technology can provide and that package is built in the UK.

'We are in the UK and we are in the UK to stay. We should have a degree more pride in what our people achieve. They build the very best quality cars on time. We need to exhibit more pride.'

The new Civic comes with the choice of 1.4i 89bhp or 1.6i 109bhp petrol engines and is available in S, SE and SE Executive trim levels. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, front and side airbags, electric front windows and door mirrors and ABS brakes. The SE adds electric rear windows, electric sunroof and the range-topper adds 15-inch alloy wheels, leather interior, climate control and a CD player. Full on the road price list: 1.4i S £11,995, SE £12,495; 1.6i S £12,495, SE £12,995, SE Executive £13,995.

Lined up to take on the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus head-to-head, Honda chiefs are claiming the new Civic is 'at least' £1,000 better value.

Honda (UK) managing director Ken Keir said: 'Customers wanted interior space with the new Civic so we designed the car from the inside out.'

This year about 20,000 five-door Civics will be sold and Keir expects that figure to increase by at least 10% with the launch of the new model with its flat floor and walk through interior.

But, he warned: 'We want sensible growth to protect residual values.' About 40% of Civic sales will be into the corporate sector and next year a combination of increased Civic sales and Accord sales also receiving a boost with a refreshed model should see total sales in the UK top 80,000 units

'It is not shoot for the sky growth; it is sensible business and all the time we are conscious of safeguarding residual values. If you lose residual values then as a manufacturer sales have gone,' said Keir.

Initially sales of UK-built five-doors will be supplemented by Japanese-built models until Swindon production is fully ramped-up.

The Civic range will be completed by the United States-built Coupe, which will enter the UK next April, and the three-door, which will be built in Swindon, will enter showrooms next autumn.

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