A new diesel engine is helping drive Honda out of the doldrums with fleet customers.
In just five months, the British-built 1.6-litre motor has powered more sales of the Civic than the total fleet volume achieved last year with the 2.2-litre unit.
"Our true fleet sales in the first half of this year are up 10% in a market that has grown by four per cent.
"Much of that is due to this new engine – it’s proving to be a great foundation for our future," Honda UK corporate operations manager Lee Wheeler told Fleet News.
The Civic is no longer being manufactured with the larger unit and the lighter and more efficient 1,597cc i-DTEC motor boosts efficiency to produce potential economy of 78.58mpg with 94g/km tailpipe emissions.
Honda is claiming the engine will also deliver further significant efficiency improvements take economy to 62.8mpg with 119g/km emissions when it becomes available in front wheel drive versions of the CR-V sports utility range in October.
In an interview at the media launch of the new SUV, Wheeler said he expected the company’s total fleet volume to reach 21,000 units this year – 3,000 more than in the previous 12 months.
“I’m aiming for a steady annual growth of that order over the next four years as we continue to win back the customers we lost as a result of having a motor with a displacement perceived as too big even though it had competitive efficiency.
“That won’t return us to the 35,000 registrations we achieved in 2007, but it will represent a significant lift in our business,” he said.
An estate version of the Civic due next spring will be the third model to use the 1.6-litre aluminium power unit that weighs 47kg less than the 2.2-litre motor and is the lightest diesel in its class.