One of Japan's most popular family cars has now been bought by more than two million motorists across Europe.

Launched in 1972, the Civic accounted for 7,248 European registrations in May and continues to be the foundation of the Honda range, accounting for almost 50 per cent of the company's total sales.

The car's performance contributed to a 6.6 per cent increase in Honda's European sales during the month against an overall market decline of eight per cent. During the first five months, Honda registrations were up 5.4 per cent compared to a market fall of 3.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, a sales increase of 8.7 per cent this year in the region has allowed Honda to overtake growth in the motorcycle sector by more than two and a half times. According to the company, the growth is being fuelled by high demand in Italy, Britain, Belgium and Portugal.

Two new Honda models have won top ratings for occupant safety in the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) results.

Both the CR-V sport utility and S2000 roadster gained four star results when they were among the first vehicles to be tested in their respective sectors.

"It is a significant achievement for an open top car to withstand both the severe offset frontal and side impact collisions involved in these tests - and we are proud that the CR-V was also awarded three stars in the pedestrian safety test.

"We previously won this rating with the Civic and Stream models, which were designed to be pedestrian-friendly, and this is currently the highest score achieved by any vehicle," said David Strangeway, the General Manager for Honda (UK), Car Division.

Meanwhile, the CR-V has been awarded a five-star rating for frontal and side impact protection by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of its new car assessment programme.

Output of the Wave, a new small motorcycle, is now under way at the Sundiro Honda Motorcycle Co. plant in Tianjin, China.

A 50-50 joint venture between Honda and two Chinese companies, Sundiro Honda assembles
40 models under local brands as well as Honda's M-Living machine. The Wave, which has a 100cc four-stroke, air-cooled engine, is expected to boost annual volume by 100,000 units.

A new system to gauge the effect of products on the environment has been launched by Honda.

Called Life Cycle Assessment, the method comprehensively evaluates the impact of a product throughout its life cycle and measures the procurement of raw resources through to manufacture, delivery, use and disposal in terms of resource and energy consumption, waste generation and other factors.

The company will use the system in its pursuit of the world's highest level of environmental management in all areas of activity.

Honda Performance Development (HPD) has announced it will enter the Indy Racing League next season. The company will partner Ilmor Engineering Inc. to design, develop and produce engines and provide track-side support to teams using the newly-developed Honda Indy V8 engine.

Honda has developed engines for the CART racing series since 1994 and to date has won more than 60 races and four CART manufacturers' championships. The Honda Turbo V8 has powered the past six consecutive champions in the CART world series drivers' championship.


Top racing drivers have helped Honda build the 500,000th example of its Civic hatchback.

The company called in Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis for a stint working alongside production staff at its plant at Swindon, Wilts.

During an eight-hour shift, the world circuit stars helped fit suspension systems, doors and windows to the milestone model, 1.6-litre hatchback. Then they put the metallic green 5 door through its paces on the factory's special test track for quality assessment.

"Associates at the plant were amazed to see the drivers wearing overalls and queuing up to clock in for a day's work. They did a great job and the car came through the test with flying colours," said a spokesman.

Honda's fast-growing European car plant at Swindon set another monthly output record in May when it produced 15,756 cars.

The total - up 86 per cent compared with 2001 - takes volume so far this year to 72,997 cars and keeps the manufacturing centre well on course to achieve the 2002 target of 185,000 cars.

A choice of seven gear ratios will come with a snappy new transmission system on Honda's award-winning Jazz supermini next month (August).

Called CVT-7, the continuously variable transmission will provide racing-style gear selection via rocker switches on the steering wheel.

But the clever system also caters for drivers who prefer fully automatic mode for extra convenience in heavy traffic conditions and even allows the choice of normal or sports ratio programmes.

With a combined fuel consumption figure of 48.7mpg, the CVT-7 loses little by way of economy compared with the manual Jazz and the system will be a £900 option on both the 1.4iDSI SE and 1.4iDSI SE Sport models.

Half a dozen historic grand prix cars and motorcycles will again be teamed up with the champions who raced them when the Festival of Speed gets under way on 12 July.

Honda is shipping two 1960s V12 racers and a 1980s Lotus Honda 100T from the three-storey museum at its huge Motegi research and development centre in Japan. Also on their way to the Goodwood event are the famous four cylinder and six cylinder motorcycles that helped the company dominate the tracks 40 years ago.

John Surtees, the only winner of world titles on two wheels and four, will be among the drivers and riders at Honda's attendance at the world's biggest historic motor racing event. The celebrities with him will include Jim Redman, Luigi Taveri, Ralph Bryans, Tommy Rob and Stuart Graham, the sole winner of car and bike Tourist Trophy races who now has a Honda car dealership in Nantwich, Cheshire.


A new Italian job from Honda provides commuters with a smart alternative to overcrowded public transport and a nippy way around rush-hour traffic queues.

Designed and built in Italy, the Dylan is the company's latest scooter and it has high performance and superior build quality as well as stylish lines.

Its sophisticated four-stroke, liquid-cooled 125cc motor makes little noise but produces a peppy 14bhp for zipping through the jams. And the £2,199 model comes with a £200 rebate that can be spent on a helmet, accessories or insurance.

"We're matching a dynamic product with a three-year finance package requiring a deposit of just £25. With motorcycles and scooters exempt from traffic charging schemes, the Dylan is the perfect choice for getting into and around town," says Honda (UK) marketing services executive Graham Hawkins.

Triple World Champion rider Valentino Rossi will star in his own premiere in the heart of London's movie land on Tuesday (9 July).

In advance of his 100th grand prix appearance in the Cinzano British Grand Prix at Donington Park on Sunday, 14 July, the 23-year-old Italian two-wheeler star will spend an hour with fans in his adopted home city and will be at Leicester Square to answer questions and sign autographs.

Published : 05/07/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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