Honda weighs Civic sedan imports from Japan

Honda might sell Japanese-made Civics on the U.S.

In a move that is sure to draw the ire of President-elect Donald Trump, Honda is considering exporting its Civic sedan from Japan to the United States.

The topic of vehicle imports has been a hot one as of late, with Trump taking Ford, General Motors and Toyota to task about selling cars in the United States that are made elsewhere. Now it could be Honda's turn to feel the wrath of Trump's Twitter account as the company is considering selling a Japanese-built Civic in the U.S.

The development comes as Honda prepares to reintroduce the Civic sedan into its home market of Japan after a seven-year hiatus. Last sold in Japan in 2010, Honda is reintroducing the Civic sedan to help boost its image in its home country as a maker of "sporty cars with attitude," not just tiny kei cars and MPVs.

"We've become known as a company specializing in minivans and 'kei' cars, and we realized our offering of 'Honda-esque' cars has become increasingly weak,” Kimiyoshi Teratani, head of Honda's Japanese operations, told Reuters.

Honda will build the Civic sedan locally for the Japanese market, prompting the automaker to rethink its production strategy. It's possible Honda could export the Civic sedan from Japan to the U.S.; currently, a large portion of Civic sedans are made at the company's plant in Greensburg, Indiana.

However, sedan sales continue to slide in the U.S., so Honda is looking at better ways to utilize its Indiana plant. If Honda ultimately decides to build the Civic sedan in Japan, it would likely build one of its hot-selling utility vehicle models in Greensburg.

Honda is playing it cautious with the new administration, which has promised high taxes on all imported vehicles, so it could be a few months before a final ruling is made. "We'd like to consider political developments and circumstances before determining the best way forward,” Teratani said.

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