Honda Concept targets Europe’s compact wagon market

Honda released a teaser picture of its Civic wagon concept. The teaser shows a design flair that critics have said is lacking in the current Civic hatchback. The coupe-style window line avoids a boxy look in favor of styling that recalls more expensive wagons such as the Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake.

Honda will unveil a concept for a station wagon version of its Civic hatchback at the Geneva auto show. A production version will go on sale early next year, marking Honda’s return to the European compact station wagon market that the company quit in 2001 because of falling sales.

Asian automakers are targeting a niche that has long been dominated by wagon versions of European cars such as the Skoda Octavia, Opel/Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus and Renault Megane.

A Honda spokesman said compact wagons are popular with fleet buyers. The Civic wagon will be built at Honda’s factory in Swindon, southern England alongside the Civic hatchback and the CR-V medium SUV.

Engines for the Civic wagon will include the company’s new 1.6-liter diesel, also made in the UK. CO2 emissions figures will be close to the 94g/km achieved by the Civic hatchback, Honda said.

Analysts IHS Automotive last year estimated that Europe’s compact wagon market will remain stable at around 700,000 a year for the next three years. It forecast that Honda will sells 16,000 Civic wagons in 2014.