Honda’s bestselling model of all time is 51 years old this month

51 years ago this month, Honda launched the Civic, its first global model which would establish the company as a carmaker as strongly as its image as a leading motorcycle manufacturer.

Honda Civic factory roll-out in 1972

Utilitarian and minimalistic
The model was Honda’s proposal in response to the Japanese People’s Car Program and its dimensions were based on a utilitarian and minimalistic concept. It took just two years of development work, the shortest time for a new Honda model to be created.

The early prototypes were 1450 wide with a length of 3300 – 3400 mm in length. However, the width was subsequently increased to 1505 mm, since the original dimensions were deemed insufficient for a FWD car equipped with a transverse 1200 cc engine.

Honda CVCC 1975

Honda CVCC engine

The boost from CVCC
The first generation Civic got a big boost when its CVCC – for Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion – engine (shown above) was able to meet new and stricter US emission regulations without requiring a catalytic converter and also ran fine on regular petrol. The American carmakers had instead been urging their government to reconsider the regulations as they were unwilling to install catalytic converters.

1973 Honda Civic

Subsequent generations would see the Civic sold in numerous countries and assembled in places like Malaysia as well. It had started off as an entry-level model but over time, its price pushed it higher up and Honda introduced new entry-level models such as the City and Fit (Jazz). While the Civic’s appeal diminished in its home country over the past couple of decades, it has remained a popular model (especially in the USA).

Almost 30 million Civics have been produced to date and it is the best-selling Honda car of all-time as well as the longest-running model line in the carmaker’s history.

Honda Civic advertisement 1979
The Civic was Honda’s first global car and has been assembled in Malaysia since the first generation.

Visit to know more about the latest Civic and other Honda models in Malaysia.

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