John Mendel – American Honda Motor Co. Inc. Executive Vice President:
Good afternoon everyone, and thanks for joining us.
In Detroit we hailed the "The Year of Honda" as we showcased a series of truly pinnacle innovations in Honda mobility, including the HondaJet, the Acura NSX, Honda's return to the Formula One racing circuit and a next generation Honda fuel cell vehicle. All Pinnacle products and technologies representing things only Honda can do.
We followed that up in Chicago, with the debut of the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot, coming this summer, and a first look at the direction of the Honda Ridgeline truck that will debut next year.
We also told you about an all-new Odyssey coming next year as well. When all is said and done, we'll have effectively transformed our entire Honda light truck lineup in just over a two-year period.
And these products will play a critical role in our future growth in the light-truck market.
We also debuted our 2015 IndyCar this past weekend in Florida with a new design that will be a formidable contender to defend our Honda-powered Indy 500 championship later this spring.
But the Year of Honda isn't just about pinnacle products like HondaJet, The Acura NSX, racing, and the strong cadence of light truck models. It's also about core products that have, for more than 40 years, defined the Honda brand and all that it represents in terms of design, packaging, powertrain innovation, safety, fuel economy and incredible value for money.
Today, we're adding an exclamation point to our invigorated product lineup with a game changing world debut. And in just a moment, you'll get a first look at our new, dynamically styled, next generation Honda Civic.
But let me be very clear, we have never in our history embarked on such a comprehensive redesign of Civic. The all-new Civic lineup features not only a new styling direction, but a new platform and powertrain. It will bring an expanded lineup with more body styles and variants than ever before. It was created through a new global development approach with our U.S. R&D team taking the lead on the final design and development of the sedan and coupe. And it will be produced right here in North America with new manufacturing technologies and methods, including our inner frame welding system and increased use of modular assemblies.
In every way, this will be an epic Civic.
Few vehicles throughout history have such a rich heritage and far-reaching impact. The very first Civic changed the way people thought about small cars, compact yet spacious, fuel-efficient yet fun-to-drive. And generation after generation, each subsequent iteration has continued to challenge the market, delivering new value in line with our core, Clean-Safe-Fun brand direction.
Civic's legacy also includes a loyal following across multiple generations. Few vehicles have enjoyed more than four decades of uninterrupted success.
In the 43 years since Civic first went on sale, more than 20 million people worldwide have purchased a new Honda Civic, with more than 10 million of these customers here in America.
Further, this year, we will pass the 9 million mark in production of Civics in North America.
So, the Civic has grown deep roots in this market.
The current model Civic has contributed greatly to this legacy. It has topped the charts as the most popular small car in America with retail car buyers in every year since its fall 2011 launch.
In fact Civic has been #1 among individual buyers in the compact segment for the past 8 years.
And the current Civic lineup attracts more young buyers than any other car in the industry.
In fact, a Honda model has been #1 with buyers under-35 for the last 11 years, with Civic taking the #1 spot for 7 straight years, until Accord took the top spot in 2014.
Now, we're prepared to take the next major step in the evolution of Civic, as a powerful symbol of Honda innovation and ability to create joy for our customers.
This new Civic will be hands down the most dynamic, the most technologically advanced, and the most refined and stylish Civic we've ever brought to market.
In Detroit, we revealed plans to introduce a new line of turbo engines in North America.
Today, we're confirming what has already been suggested, that the first-ever application of Honda's new VTEC Turbo engine will be in the new Civic, further advancing two values that Civic has always delivered at a very high level – fuel-efficiency and fun-to-drive performance.
As I mentioned, the 10th generation Civic will also offer more body styles and variants, beyond the Sedan, Coupe and Si models in the current lineup. Two days ago, Honda's U.K. production operation announced that it would begin serving global markets with Civic 5-door production. And today, we are excited to reveal that we will be introducing a new Civic 5-door to our U.S. lineup, the first time since the launch of the 6th generation Civic, in 2003, that we've had a hatch in our lineup. And this is the first time we've ever had a 5-door Civic hatchback in America.
But the Civic Sedan and Coupe are designed and developed in the U.S., which heralds the continued strengthening of our U.S. R&D capabilities and the increasingly important role they play in the development of core global models.
The final design of the North American Civic was created in our Los Angeles design studio and is being developed and engineered in Ohio.
Today, we're thrilled to show you their efforts here in New York, revealing just one more reason we're calling this the "Year of Honda."
Ladies and gentlemen, here it is, the global debut of the all-new, from-the-ground-up, Honda Civic Concept!
[CIVIC CONCEPT REVEAL]
Guy Melville-Brown – Honda Civic Concept Chief Exterior Designer, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.
Good afternoon everyone, it's an honor to be here today, representing our global styling teams to bring you the world debut of this 10th generation Honda Civic Concept.
As you can see, this all-new Civic is a truly modern embodiment of Honda's global design language. But while the design language is very forward looking, the proportions harken back to the original "perfect" proportions of Civic.
The Civic's longer wheelbase and overall length lends itself perfectly to the purpose of improved performance. With a shorter front overhang and longer hood, the A-pillars have been pulled back for a better dash to axle ratio. This growth in size enables us to deliver a more athletic, dynamic stance and sporty proportion.
Sharply chiseled lines and emotional surfacing accentuate this direction, providing a refined timelessness, a beauty that will not fade with age and a level of premium feel previously unseen with Civic. This is a car that punches well above its weight.
The Honda Civic is a car that needs no introduction, over its 43-year history it's shaped and defined the very idea of what a small car should be. As a result, it was an honor to work alongside the very talented and passionate global design teams in Los Angeles, Japan and Europe, to create a vehicle that celebrates the incredible legacy of Civic, by adding a new chapter to its history of design, technology and innovation. Charismatic, Connected and Athletic, our goal was to create a design that is emotional and sporty, yet with a sense of timelessness and simplicity.
We set out to create a vehicle that goes beyond the superficial and embraces the very philosophy of what a true Civic should be, a real game changer.
With its upright aggressive front fascia, the Civic has a strong graphical read that is unmistakably Honda. Flanked by the all-new LED headlights and underlined by its sculpted lower air intakes, the Civic delivers an impression that screams performance. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the return of the sporty Civic.
The emotional and sporty feel is enhanced by the concept's impressive 20-inch wheels, strong haunches add emphasis over the front and rear wheels, to provide the Civic a crouched and potent stance. This, in addition to the low and wide feel, gives Civic the character of a street fighter. This is the kind of sporty and fun-to-drive look, you can expect from the entire Civic lineup.
Our U.S. design team had a particular vision for this Civic Coupe. We wanted to create a vehicle whose characteristics and DNA did not fade away when the sun drops below the horizon. Utilizing strong LED signature lighting both at the front and the rear of the vehicle, day or night, this car will be unmistakably a Honda, and a Civic.
I have strong memories of growing up with a Civic, it was my family's first car. I want this Civic to be a car that people want to own, a car that stirs the very embers of your heart, a car you can fall in love with.
More than anything, we wanted the new Civic to clearly communicate the fun and excitement that this car will deliver. Our goal is to create a vehicle that excites our loyal Civic customers, and Honda enthusiasts alike, while attracting a new generation of buyers to the brand.
But honestly, good design shouldn't need to be explained, it's all here.
And as we continue to roll out the all-new Civic lineup, I think you'll understand why we view this 10th generation Civic as an epic Civic.
Thank you for your attention. Now, I'll turn it back over to John for additional details.
John Mendel – American Honda Motor Co. Inc. Executive Vice President:
Thanks, Guy, and thank you for giving us this thrilling new Civic.
You might be wondering why we're debuting the new Civic lineup with this Concept.
Well, the Civic Coupe has an incredible history as a U.S. developed vehicle. The very first Civic Coupe was developed by Honda R&D Americas in 1993. The 2001 Civic Coupe developed in Ohio was the industry's first small car to earn an NCAP five-star rating for frontal and side impact protection from NHTSA. And the dynamic 2006 Civic Coupe helped Civic earn both the Motor Trend and North American Car of the Year awards.
The 2016 Civic Coupe and companion Sedan mark the first time Honda R&D Americas has led development of a global model. In fact, the Civic Sedan sold in other markets will be based on U.S. development efforts.
As Guy suggested, this design takes Civic to a new stage in its evolution in terms of size, style, refinement and performance. This upsized Civic responds to a clear call from the market, especially from Gen-Y buyers, for a vehicle that is slightly larger, yet with a sportier, more aggressive feel. It makes good use of its larger dimensions.
We're not showing the interior today, but you can expect a highly functional and modern cabin that is spacious and refined, and a high level of connectivity, all designed to raise the stakes in the compact segment.
This new Civic is based on an all-new, more rigid and lightweight platform, that takes an innovative approach to body construction, yielding a driving experience unlike anything else in the compact class. It will help Civic provide enhanced fuel efficiency, safety and dynamic performance, while delivering near-luxury levels of driving refinement and cabin quietness.
The body structure of this new Civic will also feature our next-generation ACE body, advancing another core tenant of Honda design – safety. This 10th generation Civic targets the highest possible crash safety ratings from NHTSA and IIHS, and will offer a host of available new features from our Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies.
Of course, the heart of every great Honda is what lives under the hood. There's plenty of time ahead to discuss particulars like fuel economy and horsepower, but this new Civic will offer a new DOHC VTEC engine for lower trims, and for upper grades, as I said, an all-new 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo from our Earth Dreams Technology lineup. Transmissions will include a short-shifting six-speed manual, and a responsive and refined Honda CVT with G-Shift control.
And while this is a concept, its not "out there" in terms of timing – we are bringing the all-new Civic Sedan to market this fall!
This will be followed by a coupe, and then the sporty Civic 5-door.
Now, there has been tremendous buzz from owners and the press about the Civic Type-R, especially about whether we would ever bring it to the US. As we have a large representative sample of the motor press here today, I'd ask for your vote on whether we should bring the Type R here.
OK then, lets do it! We agree that the Civic line up is not complete without the Type-R, as a true race-bred compact car and the performance flag bearer for the Civic brand. So, with your strong support, stay tuned, as we'll have more information on this in the coming year.
The Civic Sedan, Coupe and Si models will continue to be built at two Honda plants in North America. In fact, the global lead plant for the Civic is our plant in Alliston, Ontario Canada, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary next year. We also produce Civic at our plant in Greensburg, Indiana, which recently reached the one million unit production milestone.
The Civic powertrain is also made locally, the new VTEC Turbo will be produced in Anna, Ohio, and the CVT transmission built at our Russells Point, Ohio, facility. Together, these factories are investing in new equipment, processes and training, to prepare for production of this innovative new Civic.
In this context, the new Civic isn't just a critical new model in a Honda lineup growing ever-stronger, it's the heart of who we are as a company, a powerful symbol of The Year of Honda and our strong commitment to creating innovative, class-leading, and joy-inducing products that will define the market.
With over 10 million customers now reaching the 10th generation of this iconic model, and an incredible new lineup that will offer both dynamic styling and performance, well, I hope you won't mind if we call this epic new Civic, a "perfect 10."
Then please join us for a closer look at the all-new Civic Concept.