After guest editor Chris May’s article this week, the Honda sportscar fan owner situation feels very real.
His main message was one of frustration and confusion about the lack of a US Type R akin to the outstanding concept and real-life model that is heading to Japan, Europe and the UK within the next year or so as a production car.
Spy Shots photo credit: MotorAuthority.com
Finally. Finally! A turbo engine in a Honda Civic that is promised to deliver “at least” 280 horsepower. And a lean and mean pocket-rocket bodystyle that packs five doors into a space-age shape.
But so far, there is zero indication that the Euro and global Civic Type R will come to America.
…NOT COMING TO AMERICA?
The paradox is that Honda’s US sales of the Civic and Accord are still outstanding, making the justification of a Type R difficult to really achieve from an accounts perspective.
The flip-side of this is that Honda’s European sales are dismal and getting worse. Honda is clobbered by VW and now even Hyundai and Kia. So why pour such amazing efforts into a loss-making market?
Honda has re-doubled its efforts to win over European customers many times now, with little results.
Meanwhile, US sales are pretty buoyant, apart from models like the Insight and Pilot, which are to falter.
The lesson here is that losing valued customers takes longer, for Honda, than winning over the skeptical.
But losing buyers like Chris May, who tows his RSX-S to the track with his Ridgeline, will have real sting. It might have taken years and years for him to stop recommending Honda, but that time has now come.
LET’S FIX THIS.
Honda of America definitely shares much of this frustration regarding global models, paid for largely by US sales, not imported to critical US sports car buyers.
Why does this matter when Honda sells hundreds of thousands of Accords anyway? The relatively small Type R market segment is a real opinion-leader for the Honda brand overall.
The European Civic is not coming here. It just is not. It costs too much to make that platform, and it is optimized for Europe in every way. Let’s cross that wish off the “possibilities” list, to avoid disappointment. It is not coming here.
The turbo engine and suspension upgrades are much more feasible as possible additions to our USA-built Civic.
The rear suspension and other grubby under-car bits might still be the cheaper USA flavor – even with these Civic Type R renderings and even as the Euro Civic gets sophisticated Nurburgring time attack tech.
But the turbo engine and the handling would still be enough. The overall brand halo effect of the Civic Type R could indeed make it over intact onto our coupe or sedan Civic shells.
280 turbocharged horsepower and that iconic red H badge would go a long, long way to maintaining guys like Chris in the Honda fold. From a core stakeholder perspective, losing guys like Chris for good would be a bad blow for Honda.