In 1972, Honda Motor Co. launched the Civic, a small, rust-prone hatchback that would eventually help define the company and launch it into the ranks of major global automakers. But after more than three decades that saw millions of Civics put on the road, Honda will stop selling the sedan in its home market this month as demand for the iconic car has all but dried up in Japan.
In the mid-1970s, the Civic accounted for over 70 per cent of all Honda sales in Japan, or over 175,000 vehicles annually. Last year, the company sold just 9,000 Civics as Japanese buyers turned to smaller vehicles. Despite plummeting sales in its home market, however, North American sales of the Civic—a car that now resembles more of a beefy, mid-size sedan than the original three-door econobox—remain strong. The car is still built in 13 factories around the world.