The good ol’ Honda Civic
Along with crossovers, this writer is particularly non-partial to Honda. That they are known for reliability and longevity does not change that. They are also known for being overly prevalent and overly hyped up. No one can forget the 90s when everyone and their mother was buying a resale Honda Civic. It was a beater, a race car, a family car, and a student car. It was everything yet nothing all at the same time.
That was also the era of the second market Volkswagen Jetta or Golf. Cars with a manual transmission and the possibility of diesel. They too held their value and were relatively reliable. The engines were durable long term. They rusted, but not ALL the way through. Early rust was treatable and panels could be salvaged.
You could also easily change paint color in a parking lot with a rust converter, a few cans of spray paint and, due to body styling, it was almost as good as some of the Maaco jobs at the time. To this writer, these were far more valuable qualities than a durable engine that would keep running while one had to wonder if the seat would fall out of the bottom of the car due to rust.
To this day you can find a tonne of older Hondas on the road with mismatched panels and questionable safety certificates. The Honda Civic, though, is about to go extinct from the North American market.
The current automotive market
The current driver tends to prefer crossovers, hatchbacks, SUVs, and trucks. For some, this should mean that the old reliable Honda Civic should be dominating the 4-door market. But alas, that is not the case. North Americans have all but turned their backs on sedans except for sports and executive sedans. The Civic doesn’t belong to either class.
The Honda Civic is about to go extinct from the North American market. That’s not to say that this extinction is well deserved.
The market right now is trending really weird. When companies discontinue their smaller vehicles, the drivers trend to larger vehicles, BUT of a different brand. One would tend to think that, if upsizing, why not stay within the same brand. Brand loyalty seems to be at an all-time low. There is still quite a market for subcompact cars and the refusal of some of these brands to have even one, could really hurt their bottom line.
There are still older cities and European markets where subcompacts are very popular. They are a cheap and easily attainable car for students, those who commute and need a second or third car, and those with bad credit who can purchase the car for cash and not have to worry about financing. The subcompact tends to play a very important automotive market entry role that small crossovers don’t quite meet.
While subcompacts and sedans are not currently trending in the North American market, a 4-door sedan, the Honda Civic, is KILLING it in overseas markets. Markets where fuel still tends to be expensive, incomes are less, and parking spaces are smaller.
No one can forget the 90s and everyone and their mother buying a resale Honda Civic. It was a beater, a race car, a family car, a student car. It was everything yet nothing all at the same time.
The Honda Civic sells particularly well in India, a market where incomes have been rising and the middle class seems to be steadily increasing in size and average incomes. In India, as an executive Sedan, the 2019 Honda Civic has a market share of over 53%. That’s huge. The Honda Civic may be all but dead in the North American market, but it is alive and thriving in the South East Asian market.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
Talking of Volkswagens’, read our review of the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan.
Cars I don’t hate? Maserati. Check out our review of the 2019 Maserati Levante SUV.
Better question – why not? Take a look at the 2018 Alfa Romero 4C Spider.