Honda Delays the Next Civic

The arrival of the ninth generation of the Honda’s Civic compact will be delayed from fall 2010 to at least summer 2011, it was reported Monday in Automotive News. The redesign will also carry a 2012 model year designation, instead of the originally planned 2011.

The delay is attributable to a couple of factors. For one, the eighth generation model, which made its debut in the fall of 2005 as a 2006 model, has been extremely well received and remains among Honda’s best-selling current models.

For another, the company decided midway through the development of the next model to rein in plans to make it larger, heavier and less fuel-efficient.

Instead, the focus will be on making the new Civic about the same size as the outgoing model and to put it on a diet that will yield more nimble handling and improved fuel economy.

Honda revealed at the Tokyo auto show in October that the the next Civic was being revamped.

Kurt Antonius, a spokesman for American Honda, said new fuel-economy and safety requirements enacted by the federal government last year might require automakers to re-evaluate many new models in the development pipeline.

The Civic is Honda’s longest-running automobile model in the United States, having been introduced in 1972 as a 1973 model.