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Honda refreshes Civic with new design

A redesign of Honda's Civic car is part of a lineup overhaul intended to preserve brand loyalty, particularly in young Americans, an executive in Honda's U.S. division said on Wednesday.

"There's certainly a demand by younger buyers, who are typically very strong Honda supporters, for a sporty, more dynamic vehicle," John Mendel, executive vice president of automotive sales at American Honda Motor, said in a CNBC "Power Lunch" interview.

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The automaker unveiled a sleeker Civic design at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday. Last year, Civic sales fell 3 percent in the United States as the CR-V passed it as Honda's second best-selling car in the country.

Honda designer Guy Melville-Brown introduces the Honda Civic Concept during a media conference at the 2015 New York Auto Show, April 1, 2015.
Don Emmert | AFP | Getty Images
Honda designer Guy Melville-Brown introduces the Honda Civic Concept during a media conference at the 2015 New York Auto Show, April 1, 2015.

The release of new models, including an Accord slated for late this year, will help to promote "lifetime owner loyalty," Mendel said. The Civic will be released this fall, though Honda has not announced its price.

Mendel also touched on Honda's ongoing U.S. recall of faulty Takata airbags. Last month, the company expanded its recall by more than 100,000, bringing the car and truck total to 5.5 million.

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He noted that communicating with car owners is "a slow process."