Reports out of Japan indicate that Honda may be readying the European-only hatchback Civic for a return to North America.
The company introduced the new Civic hatchback at the Paris Motor Show in the fall of 2014 but sales have reportedly been less than promising, so head office wants to shake up its European operations and North America is prime territory for expansion of the European built car.
The last Civic hatchback to grace North American roads was the SiR, which went away in 2006. As with the new Type R, it too was built in England.
When Honda introduced the replacement generation in 2006, it decided to concentrate on coupe and sedan models for North America, actually creating different chasses for the two and moving them upstream (and eventually bringing in the Fit to satisfy the entry-level hatchback segment it had abandoned).
The three- and five-door models continued to be made out of Swindon and received a sportier, better-balanced look. Since then, North American enthusiasts have been slavering over not just the performance quotient of the sportier Type R three-door model, but the overall look that has been so much cooler than the sedan versions in North America.
Now it looks as though Honda is contemplating exporting 30-40,000 of the U.K.-built hatchbacks to North America in order to deal with stagnating operations in Europe (including a drop in production that has left one of its lines idle for a year, potentially losing 100,000 sales).
The Nikkei Asian Review is reporting that Honda is taking some steps to retool its European operations, including repatriating staff from its European headquarters, importing the HR-V compact utility being built in Mexico, and restarting one of its assembly lines that produces the Civic hatchback.
At the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, Honda introduced the Civic Type R but said it would not be available in North America. It looks as though that may still be the case as Honda is planning to bring the five-door version across the Atlantic probably as early as 2016, says the Nikkei Asian Review.
Honda America has declined to comment but critics are eagerly anticipating an announcement at the New York International Auto Show, prior to Easter.