Honda has begun production on its new natural gas Civic in the United States, aiming to meet the rising demand for alternative fuel vehicles.
The Civic Natural Gas will be assembled at Honda’s Indiana plant, with engines supplied by the Anna, Ohio facility. The Japanese manufacturer has several environmental vehicle projects including two electric vehicles, the FCX Clarity and the Fit EV, as well as a new hybrid model scheduled to launch next year.
The 2012 Civic’s alternative power unit received the highest ever clean internal combustion rating from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is the sole natural gas-powered vehicle in the US. The car will enter dealer showrooms on October 18, with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price beginning at $26,155.
Increased production levels will provide support for Honda’s expanding network of dealers throughout the US. The automaker plans to branch out from some 72 dealers across four states to almost 200 locations in 36 states.
Honda will be promoting the new car as a cheaper way to drive, with natural gas costing around half the price of petrol. In various states, public organizations such as municipalities and school corporations also offer rebates on purchases of alternative fuel vehicles. In Indiana, motorists will benefit from a $2,000 refund when purchasing a new 2012 Civic Natural Gas.
Natural gas combustion engines create around 25% less greenhouse gas emissions as petrol powered cars, which means Honda’s new model meets the requirements to use High-Occupancy Vehicle or carpool lanes in states like California, Georgia, Washington and Massachusetts.
The Civic Natural Gas also comes with the latest fuel economy technology and has the option of the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, which has an extensive database of natural gas fuel station locations across the US.
The new natural gas engine is based on the 4-cylinder, 1.8-liter power unit from the 2012 Civic Coupe and Sedan models currently on the market. It has a 12.5% higher fuel economy rating for city driving compared to the older model and features an enhanced efficiency driving mode that also offers tips on how to drive in a more environmentally friendly fashion.
In addition to its green vehicle program, Honda is also setting an industry example with its energy-efficient buildings, which comply with the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) standard.
On October 11, the automaker announced another two new green buildings in Anna, Ohio, and Markham, Ontario, in Canada, taking its total of LEED-certified buildings in North America to 11 – more than any other manufacturer in the US.
Key Statistics – US Auto Industry (source: National Automobile Dealers Association, US)
- For the month of September 2011, the US auto industry sold more than 1 million cars – a 9.8% increase year on year.
- September sales figures were at their strongest since April, with year-to-date sales up 10.3% compared to the same period last year.
- In September, Honda’s US market share fell slightly by 1.5% to 9.1%; GM has the highest market share with 20.1%