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Honda - Changing The Way They Market The Civic

Dec 8, 2007
This is another article, in a series of articles, breaking down and critiquing, automotive manufacturers marketing brochures. Point of sale (POS) materials account for millions of dollars a year in the automotive industry. We want to look deep inside these marketing brochures and examine the sales and marketing angles for each particular model.

In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the 2008 Honda Civic. Honda has an 18-page color brochure dedicated to selling its ideas, attempting to readjust the way you look at today's Honda Civic.

When you think Honda Civic, what comes to mind? We think, great gas mileage, dependability, practicality, simply a smart purchase. Those qualities and ideas are still part of the overall Honda Civic DNA, but Honda wants to change the way you think about the Civic. Honda is going after an entirely different market.

"Spontaneity, Intensity, and Fun"...these are not yesterdays advertising keywords associated with the Honda Civic.

Immediately on page 3, Honda asks you to "Go Ahead, Open It Up". Let's see what this baby will do. "Killer Looks", "Next-Big-Thing-Technology", "Burn Up The Pavement", just a few terms I'd not generally attach to the Civic. The folks at Honda are pushing this vehicles driving experience and persona in an attempt to lure in an entirely different demographic.

There is no doubt, the Civic has grown up. The thought of a navigation system in a model lines lower end cars may seem a bit much, but Honda decided to devote an entire page to their version of navigation. Leather interior also earned a complete one page spread, in an attempt to further move away from the traditional Civic market and towards a more bold and aggressive buyer.

"Lots Of Thrust, Little Thirst"...This is a bit closer to the Civic marketing we've all become accustomed to. Gas mileage and a little zip, that's my good old Civic.

Honda went back to its roots in a three page spread exclusively marketing the 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid. This is what I expect from Honda in regards to the Civic. The hybrid version of the 2008 Honda Civic makes perfect sense for this model. Ever the practical choice for fuel savings, initial investment savings, and overall automotive cost, the Civic now extends into environmental "Green" savings with the Honda Civic Hybrid. They appeal to your intelligence, "Hybrid: A Smarter Way To Drive". And they appeal to your overall concern of the environment in the classic way Honda always has.

The Honda Civic Si Coupe is the portion of the brochure that you would expect some content relating to power and style and verve. "Obey Your Wilder Side" is a perfect lead in to this trim level of the Civic. The Si has always had a following with the younger, "Generation X" demo, and Honda has done a great job of reinforcing this Civic model again to its segmented audience. Naming one of its color, Habanero Red Pearl, was another nice touch.

Safety only earned one page of the brochure and there is only one page describing the "DNA" of the Honda Civic.

Honda is making a very conscience effort to expand its market for the Civic. This could be a bit of a risk for a model that has been more successful than anyone at Honda could have ever imagined. I'm sure the likes of the Mazda3 and Nissan Sentra have the marketing department at Honda rethinking the whole Civic thing. But, a niche is a niche is a niche. They are stepping outside the area that has worked so well for them in the past. It will be interesting to see if they expand or decrease their market share for the Civic with this approach.
About the Author
Dan Mercurio is president of Elite Search Engine Marketing specializing automotive marketing and SEO/SEM. Let us show you we can efficiently and affordably administer a quality search engine marketing campaign for you as we have for Honda Jersey City New Jersey.
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