The next generation Honda Civic will be smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient than was originally planned, the company's chief of automotive operations has said.
However, the radical changes could delay the new car's launch, which was expected in late 2010. The Civic is crucial to Honda's line-up as its platform forms the basis for the CR-V, FR-V and Japan's Stream minivan.
the CR-V and Element, Japan's Stream small minivan and Europe's FR-V.
Speaking to Automotive News, Honda's Tsuneo Tanai said that Honda planned to downsize its next Civic platform, based on its own analysis of rising oil, steel and aluminum prices.
However, he has revealed that, following the economic downturn, Honda chief Takanobu Ito ordered a complete re-evaluation of Honda's plans, killing its V8 and rear-wheel-drive programmes and demanding revamps of all existing designs.
Initial designs planned for the next Civic to be larger than the current model, but now its exterior will be smaller, said Tanai. Instead, he claimed Honda hopes to create a perceived sense of increased roominess inside.
Ito refused to identify a target launch date for the new Civic, but said: ""The team is struggling. We are injecting more manpower to meet our target."
Tanai also revealed that Honda's focus is now on reducing weight on all its platforms and expanding its hybrid powertrain technology to more vehicle lines.
It also has added development of electric vehicles, which Honda initially opposed, to bump up the Honda fleet's fuel efficiency and lower its emissions.