November 26, 2012 / 8:11 AM / 5 years ago

Honda considers shifting Civic development to U.S.

* Civic could be developed in Ohio R&D center-spokesman

* Current Civic sedan shunned by critics

* Honda also mulling Accord development in U.S.-Nikkei

TOKYO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co is considering developing the next generation of the Civic in the United States rather than Japan, a spokesman said, after the last version of the automaker’s popular sedan was panned by critics.

North America accounts for half of total Civic sales.

The 2012 Civic, Honda’s third-best selling model last year after the CR-V and the Accord, was criticised for having an uninspired design and a bumpy ride.

“Localising Civic development (in the United States) is among various factors we are considering. Generally speaking, Honda wants to develop cars locally where we sell them,” said Satoshi Takami, a Honda spokesman based in Tokyo.

The Nikkei business daily reported earlier on Monday that Honda would develop both the next generation Civic and Accord sedans in the United States. Both are set to go on sale around 2016.

Honda is considering developing the next generation Civic at its Research and Development (R&D) centre in Ohio, rather than in Tochigi, Japan, Takami said, adding that nothing has been decided on the Accord.

The engineers based in Ohio could be charged with developing the Civic’s body and the interior, while engineers at Tochigi are likely to continue developing engines and other core parts.

Honda is set to unveil the facelifted 2013 Civic on Thursday at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Chief Executive Takanobu Ito has been pushing for more involvement of engineers from outside Japan, aiming to reflect different demands of customers worldwide. (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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