In production since 1972, the Civic has enjoyed one of the longest production runs in Honda's history. It is also the Japanese automaker's most successful vehicle. Over 20 million units have been sold since inception, with the nameplate being a number-one seller in several countries like the United States and Canada.
The Honda Civic was originally produced as a subcompact. The 1973 oil crisis at the time may deserve partial credit for its conception as an economy-focused, fuel efficient car. Plus, its ability to run on either leaded or unleaded fuel give drivers fuel-choice flexibility over other vehicles of the age. The Civic grew in size during the 1980s, and the 1990s witnessed the dawn of more aerodynamic styling -- a far cry from its boxy beginnings. In 2000, the Civic had a significant increase in interior space, thus bumping it up to the compact car size market. Although several automakers have since challenged Honda's market share with their compact car entries, the Civic still holds significant dominance in the segment, due to its long production run and long list of variants.
By the 2000s, the Honda Civic had won the Car of the Year Japan Award four times, a record in the award's history. The Civic has also been recognized by Motor Trend and Car and Driver, among several other industry publications and organizations. As of 2015, the Civic is in its ninth production cycle, with a completely redesigned model unveiled at the New York Auto Show on April 1, 2015.