After a quiet few months, Honda's UK unit is gearing up for some much needed new product with the launch of the redesigned Civic hatchback at the Frankfurt show.

The car goes on sale on 3 January or around a year later than originally expected.

Managing director David Hodgetts said the launch of the new model had been delayed following the economic crash, a decision taken by headquarters in Japan.

"It was decided to wait and see what the market would look like post-crash and I have to say it was the right decision even though the outgoing model has been around for more than five years. The car we have coming now is more efficient and has lower CO2 than what we would have seen a year ago."

With a CO2 output of 110g/km and 150hp, Hodgetts said the new Civic "hits all the right buttons" in terms of fleet sales.

He added: "No doubt, it has been a tough time with the economic situation and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan which hit Honda as hard as anyone. We have been on half production since April but last week our Swindon factory, where the new Civic is built, returned to full production."

During that lean period, he said, the company was focused on getting what cars it could to customers with dealers allowed no demonstrators or stock vehicles.

Honda UK expects to sell around 26,000 new Civics next year, rising to 30,000 in 2013 following the launch of a new small diesel - believed to be around 1.6-litres - which will also go into the new CRV due to be launched a year from now.

Over the next four years, Hodgetts said, the full Honda range will be renewed along with the entire engine line.