Honda executives have stated that the automaker is working on the Honda Civic’s first refresh already, in order to address reviewer criticism and jump start sluggish sales.

The 2012 Honda Civic has been on sale since April 2011, and the automotive press is reporting that the 2013 model will see upgrades. "Honda is scrambling to revamp its Civic just eight months after a new version hit showrooms, and critics say it's an admission that the compact car fell short in quality and handling,” says the Associated Press. “The revamp, to come by the end of 2012, is rare because new models aren't usually overhauled for at least three years.”

According to the Associated Press, American Honda President Tetsuo Iwamura says “the company will improve the Civic’s drivability.”

Reviewers speculate that the changes won’t be too radical. Autoblog predicts that the suspension and drivetrain may be tweaked to provide the better driving experience Iwamura refers to, and that the cabin will be made with higher-quality materials, among other things.

Sales for the new Civic have been lower than expected, due in part to natural disasters in Asia and in part because of low consumer interest for the redesigned Civic. “U.S. sales of the Civic have fallen 13 percent this year to 200,690, according to researcher Autodata Corp,” says Bloomberg Businessweek. “Honda’s U.S. sales declined 5.3 percent through November while industrywide deliveries gained 10 percent as the company suffered inventory shortages caused by floods in Thailand in October and a March earthquake and tsunami in Japan.”

Additionally, reviewers say that the 2012 Honda Civic seems uninspired in comparison with newly redesigned competitors like the 2012 Ford Focus and the 2012 Hyundai Elantra, which offer stylish sheetmetal and nicer interiors.

The 2012 Honda Civic starts at $15,805.

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