With a significant contribution of cars from Honda’s UK Swindon plant, cumulative production of the Honda Civic series has reached the 15 million landmark. The Civic brand thus ranks among the most prolific car models of all time.
Production of the first Civic – a 1200cc two-box front-wheel drive model – started in July 1972 at the Suzuka plant in Japan. With its superior driving performance, fuel economy, safety and environmental performance, together with its spacious interior, the Civic was a car of universal appeal. Its appearance marked a coming of age for Honda as a world class car manufacturer.
With three and four-door models and a 1500cc engine joining the line-up, the first generation Civic sold almost two million units before giving way to the second series in 1979. This version saw the introduction of saloon and estate models for the first time, the former sold in Britain during the early ’80s badged as the Triumph Acclaim.
The 1983 third generation Civic was another instant hit – and saw much diversification in the form of closely-related Civic Shuttle and sporty CRX models. The 4-door model was also the basis for the first Rover 200 Series.
Production of Civic at the HUM Swindon car plant began in late 1994 with a 5-door derivative of the fifth generation Civic. The British-built model quickly established itself as the most popular Civic model ever sold, both in Britain and Europe – with around 400,000 built between 1994 and 2001. This figure includes the Civic Aero deck (estate) model introduced during 1998.
Introduced in 2001, the current seventh generation Civic is built in Japan (4 and 5-door), America (2 and 4-door) and the UK (3 and 5-door); the HUM plant builds all of the Civic 3 and 5-door models for Europe, with the 3-door being exported both to America (as the Civic Si) and Japan (as the Type-R). In fact Swindon is the sole supplier of the Civic 3-door, making the plant an important part of Honda’s global supply network.