With 21,233 registrations, N-Box was Japans best seller in October, compared to just 13,972 for second placed Daihatsu Move

With 21,233 registrations, N-Box was Japan's best seller in October, compared to just 13,972 for second placed Daihatsu Move

Having already explored what's ahead for Acura, the second chapter in a four-part series examining Honda's future models plans now turns to the company's next generation of Honda cars, crossovers and SUVs. The final two articles will cover MPVs/minivans, pick-ups and electrified models.

Overview

In the world's largest market, Honda remains quite a way ahead of Toyota.

The USA, China and Japan remain Honda's top three markets, with the firm putting ever more distance between itself and Nissan in each case. The company's foresight in developing multiple, although not too many SUVs and crossovers, is paying dividends. In the world's largest market, Honda remains quite a way ahead of Toyota.

At home, Honda lags TMC of course, and yet even there things are changing with the newly launched second generation N-Box selling at an extraordinary rate: Honda is especially strong in 660cc mini-vehicles and crucially, the latest N-Box is available with a vast amount of accessories which are proving popular. Even a rear-view mirror with its back colour-matched to interior trim pieces is possible. With the N series microcars selling at a combined rate of well over a quarter of a million vehicles a year, this is not a model range which delivers mere micro-profits - far from it.

The company's genius in China is to please both its partners with versions of the same in-vogue models, such as the Vezel (HR-V) and not rely on just one or two vehicles for the majority of its sales. SUVs have equally proved to be what buyers want, just as in the US, although hatchbacks and sedans have been kept fresh and replaced within five year intervals. Ford, FCA and GM would do well to learn from this example: they might believe that Americans are no longer quite so keen on the likes of the Focus, Fusion and Cruze yet no-one seems to have told all those people who continue to buy the Civic, Accord and CR-V in such enormous numbers.

Some models may appear to be missing from the text below: see this feature for details of the Honda Legend (Acura RLX), Honda ZSX (Acura ZSX) and Honda NSX (Acura NSX).

Kei segment

The second generation N-Box went on sale in Japan in September. Already a light car, the latest model lost a further 80kg, version for version, compared to the previous. In addition to the N-Box, there are also Custom variants which have a different front end.

This Kei class five-door hatchback is sold mainly in Honda's home market. Non-turbo and turbo versions of a 658cc engine are available, as are front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive variants. A CVT is standard for all. This was Honda's first Kei car to have its i-VTEC valve timing system on a naturally-aspirated engine, while another first was a wastegate for the turbo engine.

Honda's so-called 'Sensing' safety systems also feature on this model, some of which are segment firsts:

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
  • False Start Prevention
  • Pedestrian Collision Mitigation Steering System
  • Lead Car Departure Notification System
  • Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) System
  • Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • False Backward Start Prevention
  • Auto High Beam headlights

At the time of its release, the N-Box was expected to sell at an average monthly rate of 15,000 cars, Honda stated. As is noted in the photo caption above, things are off to a rather better start than that.

The third generation model should usher in a new architecture but that won't be until the third quarter of 2022, following a facelift for the latest model in 2020.

The N-Box Slash is another mini-vehicle. It has been available in Japan since December 2014. This boxy four-door coupe was the fifth vehicle for Honda's N Series. The successor is due for release in early 2019.

The next N-Box+ should be on sale in Japan during the first quarter of 2018.

Honda leaves no base unprotected in the largest segment of the Japanese market. The N-Box+ is yet another Kei model, with this vehicle being a micro-minivan. It is unusual for having a folding aluminium ramp which can be used for multiple purposes. This clips onto the rear bumper, allowing a bicycle or mini-scooter to be wheeled in, or folds flat to create a double bed. The next N-Box+ should be on sale in Japan during the first quarter of 2018.

The N-One is the oldest of Honda's current mini-vehicle line-up. It is a production version of the N Concept 4 minicar from November 2011's Tokyo motor show, going went on sale in Japan exactly one year later. The N Concept 4 was itself an update from the earlier EV-N concept. Both of these design studies were inspired by the N360, a mini-car from the 1960s.

Like all other models in Japan's Kei class (kei jidosha or light car), the N-One is powered by a naturally aspirated or turbocharged 658 cc engine with power of the top versions restricted to 63hp. Production takes place at the Suzuka plant. A new model is due to be released in January. It will obviously use the same updated architecture as the second generation N-Box.

The last models in the first generation N Concept series to go on sale were the N-WGN and N-WGN Custom. The two 'wagons' were revealed at the Tokyo motor show in November 2013 and went on sale in Japan days later. Their replacements are due out towards the end of 2018.

Honda has had some success in Japan with its 2RZ project, which has the production model name of S660. A dinky roadster, it was previewed by the S660 concept at the Tokyo motor show in November 2013. The company stated at the show that production would commence in 2015. The production model was announced in April 2015, going on sale in Japan immediately. It is powered by a 47kW three-cylinder petrol engine. Transmissions are either a six-speed manual or a CVT. The S660 is just 3,395mm long. A facelift is expected in the second half of 2018.

The next S660 will use the same architecture as the latest N-Box as well as its newer engine. It should be on sale in early 2021.

Honda's oldest Kei model is the Vamos Hobio. This vehicle, which is sold mostly in Japan, is a high-roofed 'camping' version of the Vamos, a tiny MPV. Launched in February 2003, it has a unique front bumper as well as a deeper, narrower grille.

The Hobio uses the same rear- and all-wheel drive platform as the Acty mini-truck. The latter was replaced in Japan in December 2009. Like the Acty, the Vamos is manufactured by Yachiyo Industry Company at its Yokkaichi Factory. Production is due to cease in early 2018 but even though it is so old, there are still people who want it: sales over the first ten months of 2017 amounted to 3,233 units which is 800 more than the much younger Daihatsu Copen, a mini-roadster.

There is definitely an opportunity for a mini-crossover or SUV to tackle the success of the Suzuki Hustler.

As for other potential Kei models, there is definitely an opportunity for a mini-crossover or SUV to tackle the success of the Suzuki Hustler. Honda appears to have its hands full just replacing all of the N-Concept hatchbacks and micro-MPVs but there have been suggestions that such a vehicle might be released in 2019.

A segment

Honda launched the 2CV series Brio, a Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto rival, in Thailand in March 2011 and in India six months later.

A 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine was standard at the time of the vehicle's introduction but a locally-built 1.5-litre diesel was added for the Indian market in 2013. This was only Honda's third self-developed diesel engine, after its 2.2- and 1.6-litre four-cylinder units. The Amaze i-DTEC, launched in India in April 2013, was the first car in the world to have Honda's 1.5-litre diesel.

In March 2012, Honda announced that its Indonesian joint venture, PT Honda Prospect Motor, would erect a second plant close to the existing factory in Karawang. Construction at Karawang got underway in June 2012. The factory was built next to an existing Honda facility, about 70km east of Jakarta. It was completed in early 2014. The Brio Satya, the Mobilio and other mainstream models are made there.

Honda, through its 51% owned affiliate PT Honda Prospect Motor (HPM), also makes the CRV, Jazz and Freed models in Indonesia. The additional plant lifted Honda's production capacity in the country to 180,000 units a year. Prior to this, it was just 65,000 units.

The Honda Amaze, a four-door sedan version of the Brio, was launched in both India and Thailand in November 2012. The Indian-built Amaze had a facelift in March 2016, followed six months later by a facelifted Brio.

In July 2013, Honda stated that it would add a third shift at its Greater Noida plant in India from November 2013, due to the local market success of the Amaze. The car was also the first vehicle to be manufactured at HMIL's Tapukara plant. The expanded facility, which already manufactured two-wheelers, was inaugurated in February 2014.

The replacements for the Brio (2UA), Satya (2TQ) and Amaze (2UB) are due to be revealed from 2018.

The replacements for the Brio (2UA), Satya (2TQ) and Amaze (2UB) are due to be revealed from 2018. The Brio has not been a strong seller in India, and this is said to be due to an interior which prospects perceive as cheap-looking, slightly odd rear styling and the lack of a diesel engine. The last of these is a major oversight for the Indian market. The car's boot could also be bigger. Honda is expected to use the existing architecture for the Brio, Brio Satya and Amaze replacements.

Honda is said to be considering replacing the Brio model name with a fresh one. This might also be the first model for a 1.1-litre three-cylinder diesel which the company is believed to have under development.

B segment

The third generation Fit (Jazz in some markets) entered initial production at the company's then-new Yorii plant in July 2013. It went on sale in Japan, its first market, two months later and was the first vehicle to use a platform called Global Compact Series.

This is also the small car which the company stated in August 2011 that it would build at what would be a new plant in Mexico. The facility, in a suburb of Celaya, had an initial capacity of 200,000 cars per annum. The first cars came off the line there in February 2014. Honda opened the plant with one shift of 1,600 employees. The company doubled the workforce in late 2014 just before it began building a second model. This was the HR-V, a Fit-based crossover rival for the Nissan Juke. In Japan, China and certain other markets, the HR-V is the Honda Vezel.

The Celaya-built Fit is sold in the US, Canada and Mexico. The (second generation) Fit for those markets had been imported from Japan. American Honda's 2015 model year Fit premiered at the Detroit auto show in January 2014, but cars did not reach US dealers until five months later.

In July 2013, Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda. (HAB), the Honda automobile production and sales subsidiary in Brazil, announced it would erect a second plant in the country. This facility would be in the city of Itirapina, 100km northwest of HAB's existing Sumaré plant, also in the state of São Paulo. The first Fit and 'Fit-class' vehicles would be built there, Honda stated. Itirapina has an initial capacity of 120,000 vehicles per annum, the same as Sumaré. Production of the third generation Fit would take place at both plants - build at Sumaré commenced in April 2014.

The Guangqi Honda joint venture exhibited the Fit for China at April 2014's Beijing motor show. It went into local production just before the show, with cars going on sale in May 2014. The Fit was the first product for another Guangqi Honda plant which opened in Guangzhou in September 2015. This facility had an initial capacity of 120,000 cars a year.

Honda Motor India Limited (HMIL), meanwhile, began building the Jazz at its Tapukara plant from May 2015.

In October 2012, Honda Motor Europe stated that the next Jazz for the region would not be manufactured at the HUM plant in England. HUM built the second generation model until 2015. In November 2013, HME said it would not introduce the third generation Jazz until the second half of 2015 but did not explain why there would be such a long delay. Europe's car is imported from Japan, with sales finally getting underway in September 2015. Originally, there was just one engine: a 1.3-litre petrol unit.

Honda Motor Europe revealed its 'Jazz Prototype' at the Paris motor show in October 2014. It is astonishing that HME does not offer the car with a diesel engine, especially given that a 1.5-litre diesel Jazz exists: HMIL began selling it in the Indian market when it launched the locally made model there in May 2015. The lack of the the diesel is one of several reasons why the Jazz is not a strong seller in Europe.

North America's 2016 model year Fit was announced in June 2015. It had few changes and the 2017 model year car was similarly unchanged. There is a facelift for the 2018 model year. Japan was the first market for the restyled Fit, the car going on sale there in June 2017. The motor show debut for the facelift was the Frankfurt IAA in September. The car for Europe also gains a 1.5-litre petrol engine. This produces 96kW (130PS). The 102PS 1.3-lite engine continues to be available. Cars will be in dealerships across the European region from January.

Cars for American Honda had been manufactured at the Yorii plant in Saitama Prefecture but commencing in May 2016, production moved to the Suzuka factory in Mie Prefecture. Suzuka had capacity of 70,000 set aside for these cars.

The fourth generation Fit should be revealed in Japan during the third quarter of 2019.

The fourth generation Fit should be revealed in Japan during the third quarter of 2019. Its architecture will likely be a modernised version of the current car's.

Another B segment model, albeit a larger one, was announced first by HMIL (Honda Motor India Limited) in November 2013. This, the latest City, went on sale locally from January 2014. The 4,440mm long sedan steadily began to be manufactured at global plants which had built the previous model.

In August 2014, HMIL announced that it was to move production of the City from its Noida facility to the Tapukara plant. The change was necessary to release more capacity for Mobilio build at Noida. To accommodate the shift, City production was suspended during August 2014.

The car is sold as the Honda Ballade in South Africa, as was its predecessor. It went on sale there in June 2014. Mexico is the car's only market in North America.

A facelifted model went on sale from February 2017. The next City is due to appear in 2020. It will use the same architecture as the future fit/Jazz.

Honda unveiled the Concept B at the Shanghai motor show in April 2014. A production version of this five-door hatchback would be specifically for China, it was stated.

The vehicle in question turned out to be a hatchback version of the City. The Gienia had its world premiere at the Chengdu motor show in September 2016. Dongfeng Honda began building it later the same month. The car's Chinese name is Jingrui. A facelifted model should go on sale in 2019, two and a half years ahead of the second generation Gienia. The car will most likely share its architecture with the contemporary Fit/Jazz and City.

The Grace is a unique model for Japan. It went on sale there during December 2014 and was immediately successful, ending its first month with over 5,000 sales and a place in the top-ten. It is the same car as the City/Ballade, a small sedan sold mostly in Thailand, India, Australia and other markets in Asia-Pacific, but with one major difference: the Grace is a hybrid. Unlike the India-built car, there is no diesel for Japan. The Grace can also be thought of as a sort of replacement for the similarly sized but three-door hatchback Insight.

Honda said at the time of its launch that the Grace's sales target was 3,000 units a month. The car is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol-electric powertrain, with the gearbox being a seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT). Both front- and all-wheel drive versions are offered.

A non-hybrid, the Grace LX, was added in June 2015. This is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine. A CVT is standard and like the Grace, both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive variants are available. Honda released a facelifted Grace range in Japan during July 2017. A new Grace is predicted for 2020.

The Greiz, a small sedan which is very closed linked to Japan's Grace LX, went into production at Dongfeng Honda's Wuhan 1 plant in September 2015. The Greiz is also based upon the GAC Honda-built City, but with some external changes. Each of the Japanese company's Chinese partners therefore has a version of the same car. The same situation applies for China's Honda XR-V and Honda Vezel.

The Greiz went on sale in China in November 2015. It is therefore due to be facelifted in mid-late 2018, with a new generation model likely for the third quarter of 2021.

C segment

Honda of Canada Manufacturing would be the lead global plant for the tenth generation Civic, it was announced in November 2014. This meant that Alliston was the first plant to launch the current Civic into mass production. Further, HCM was responsible for developing the manufacturing processes and tooling trials that form the manufacturing base at all Honda plants globally that build the tenth generation Civic model series. The sedan and coupe came first, followed by a five-door hatchback and then a five-door Type R. There is no wagon with this generation.

Honda of Canada Mfg. has the capacity to produce 390,000 Civic and CR-V models annually.

Honda of Canada Mfg. has the capacity to produce 390,000 Civic and CR-V models annually for the Canadian and North America markets, as well as for export. Of these, approximately 100,000 Canadian-built Civic and CR-V units are sold annually in Canada. HCM also produces 240,000 four-cylinder engines annually.

As well as at Alliston 1, the latest Civic should eventually be manufactured or assembled at the same plants as the previous generation sedan, coupe, hatchback and estate.

An additional plant is one in Japan's Saitama prefecture. Honda stopped making the Civic in Japan in 2010 but record demand for the CR-V in the US saw the company struggling to keep up with demand. To alleviate that, some Civic production in North America shifted to Japan a few months ago. The intention is to produce around 50,000 units a year of the sedan. Honda withdrew the Civic from sale in its home market in 2010 but it brought the nameplate back to the Japanese market during July 2017.

HUM, Honda's Swindon plant in England, would be the 'global production hub' for the then next five-door car it was announced in March 2015. This vastly underutilised facility lost the Jazz and has more recently also lost CR-V production.

Production of the Civic five-door commenced in August 2016, with the first cars being shipped to North America later that month. The styling was previewed by the Civic Hatchback Prototype which debuted at the Geneva motor show in March 2016. Honda says the US will take 40 per cent of what it hopes will be 120,000 Civic hatchbacks built annually at Swindon. Of the remainder, the UK should take 20 per cent and other European countries 40 per cent. The sedan for European markets is made in Turkey.

Jean-Marc Streng, the head of Honda Motor Europe, stated in a December 2016 interview that the division has a target of reaching an eventual 200,000 sales in the region by 2019. In 2014, the total was a mere 132,640 cars and the goal for 2015 was 160,000. The brand's high-point was 2007, a year in which HME sold 300,000 vehicles. Civic sales are hoped to rise to 50,000 units in 2017 compared to only circa 30,000 in 2016. The UK is expected to remain the number one market, taking around 25-30 per cent of production.

A five-door Type R went on sale across Europe and in North America from mid-2017. Its debut was at the Geneva motor show in March. The engine is a 2.0-litre turbo which produces a claimed 320PS and 400Nm.

The tenth generation Civic was previewed by a two-door design study which premiered at the New York auto show in April 2015. The series production sedan and coupe were revealed to the media in September 2015. The Civic was the first model for a new C and D segment platform.

The latest Civic marked the first time that development of both the sedan and coupe models was led by a North American R&D team, with Honda's Los Angeles design studio taking charge of styling and engineering centred in the company's Raymond vehicle development centre in Ohio. As well as at Alliston in Ontario, the North American version of the Civic sedan is produced in Greensburg, Indiana. The Civic Coupe and Si are also manufactured in Canada.

North America's Civic sedan and coupe were new for the region's 2016 model year with the five-door added for the 2017 model year. Cars for North America are offered with either a normally aspirated 2.0-litre engine or a 1.5 turbo. The VTEC Turbo engine is produced in Anna, Ohio with engines also produced in Alliston. The CVT is produced in Russells Point, Ohio.

In North America, the base LX and EX variants come with the 2.0-litre engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission on the LX and a CVT on the EX. The EX-T, EX-L and new Touring model grades all have the 1.5-litre turbo engine and a CVT.

A 1.6-litre diesel is coming but will not be available until March. There will also be a 1.5-litre petrol hybrid later in the Civic's lifecycle.

Honda told the media in October 2015 that the Civic to be built in England would be available with a new turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine. The normally aspirated 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine offered in the UK-built ninth generation car was discontinued with the release of the latest model. There is also a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo. A 1.6-litre diesel is coming but will not be available until March. There will also be a 1.5-litre petrol hybrid later in the Civic's lifecycle. This will be the same powertrain as features in the CR-V Hybrid. Also, Honda will make its nine-speed automatic gearbox available from 2018.

The updated 1.6 i-DTEC engine produces 120PS and 300Nm of torque. Assembled at Honda of the UK Manufacturing in Swindon, west of London, the revised engine will be available in both the four-door and five-door variants of the tenth-generation Civic.

Civic sedan production in Thailand commenced in March 2016. This takes place at Prachin Buri's Rojana Industrial Park (also can be spelled as Prachinburi). The plant has a new type of manufacturing process, which Honda terms an ARC Line.

The Civic will be assembled in India from 2018, Honda announced in June 2016. In October 2017, it was announced that this will be a facelifted model which is also due to be released for North America's 2019 model year.

A model in the C/D segment is the Crider. This vehicle, which is for the Chinese market, was previewed first by the Concept C which appeared at the Beijing motor show in April 2012 and then by the Crider concept at the Shanghai show in April 2013.

Honda said at the time that the design study would inspire a production car to be built by the Guangqi Honda joint venture, from 2013. This additional model, sized between the Civic and Accord, went on sale in China in June 2013.

Guangqi Honda quotes the Crider's dimensions as follows: length: 4,650mm; width: 1,750mm; height: 1,505mm. The standard engine is a 1.8-litre four-cylinder VTEC, with both five-speed manual and automatic gearboxes available.

A facelifted Crider went on sale in China in December 2015. A new Crider is due out in 2019. It will use the same architecture as the latest Civic.

D segment

The tenth generation Accord (codename: 3GA), announced to the media in July, went on sale first in the US, Mexico and Canada two months later for those countries' 2018 model year.

This new sedan has the same basic architecture as that of the CR-V and tenth generation Civic. The car will be sold globally, with the exception of Europe, Honda having decided that it wishes to remain absent from the region's D sedan and wagon segment.

In North America, the 2018 Accord is available with turbocharged 192hp 1.5- and 252hp 2.0-litre gasoline engines as well six-speed manual, CVT and ten-speed automatic transmissions. A V6 is not offered, and the Accord Coupe, which made up just four per cent of the ninth generation car's sales in North America, was not replaced. US production commenced in September. Plants in Thailand, China, Malaysia and Nigeria are either right now switching over to building or assembling the new shape car or will do so in 2018.

The eleventh generation Accord will be launched in the third quarter of CY2022.

A facelift should debut for North America's 2021 model year. The eleventh generation sedan will be launched in the third quarter of CY2022.

Aside from the Legend (see RLX in the Acura feature) and Clarity (EV, PHEV and hydrogen cars feature to come), there is only one other large sedan sold by Honda. This is the Spirior. Exclusive to China and based on the former Accord, it premiered at the Beijing motor show in April 2014. The production model went on sale in China in late 2015. Dongfeng Honda announced the new model in November 2014 at the Guangzhou motor show. It offers the choice of 2.0- and 2.4-litre four-cylinder engines.

An updated Spirior is most likely to be released in the Chinese market during early 2019, to be followed in 2022 by the next generation model. That car will probably share much with the 3GA series Accord.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

Additional data on vehicle lifetime and future product plans, such as code names, production plants and expected annual build, are available in PLDB from QUBE.