Honda unveils tenth-generation Civic concept in New York

JIJI

Honda Motor Co. unveiled its next-generation Civic concept car at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday.

The vehicle, boasting a sportier look, will be released in sedan, coupe and five-door hatchback versions in North America in the fall. It will be the first North American model powered by Honda’s VTEC engine, which is stronger and provides better fuel efficiency.

The new Civic yields “a driving experience unlike anything else in the compact class,” John Mendel, executive vice president at American Honda Motor Co., said.

The Civic has been Honda’s flagship car since it debuted in 1972. The current model is the ninth generation.

Between January and March, Honda sold more than 66,000 Civics in the United States, about 20 percent of its sales in that market.

But the Civic faces competition from rekindled demand for light trucks, reflecting a drop in fuel prices and growing competition from Toyota Motor Corp.’s Camry and other cars.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the show, Mendel said the recalls of defective air bags from Takata Corp. do not seem to have affected Honda’s U.S. sales significantly.

Honda aims to beat the industry’s sales growth in the second half of this year, he said.