Civic – An extreme makeover

John Laurence – DDB South Africa


This document will explain how Honda South Africa and DDB South Africa worked together to take a product with a staid, conservative image and turned it into the hottest property in the C Sedan segment of the market. Not only did this change the way people viewed the brand, it resulted in a 445% year-on-year increase in sales and moved Honda into a new era of its history in South Africa.


2.1. Mercedes Benz to Honda South Africa

Prior to December 2000, Honda motor vehicles were manufactured and distributed by Mercedes in South Africa. Mercedes sold Honda vehicles as a sub-brand of their luxury car range and the Civic sedan was uniquely badged the Honda "Ballade" and sold as a secondary vehicle to their Mercedes range.

From December 2000, Honda motor vehicles were distributed by a newly formed and wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda Motor in South Africa with a small network of 7 dealers and a modest range of 3 models. Honda SA had the task of re-aligning the brand with its global positioning and consequently re-badged the vehicle as the Honda Civic (along with the sportier Civic 5-Door Hatchback).


3.1. Previous Generation’s Perception in the Market