CIVIC > Birth of the Civic
Low-Emission CVCC Engine Developed Ahead of World’s Major Competitors
The Civic CVCC, launched in the United States in 1974, was instrumental in cementing Honda’s reputation overseas. Initially, practically all manufacturers regarded the U.S. Clean Air Act*2 restrictions as impossible to meet. In 1972, however, a new Civic equipped with a CVCC engine became the first model in the world to officially qualify under the new standards. Honda, a latecomer to the automobile market, saw the legislation as a golden opportunity, not only to protect the environment and otherwise fulfill its social commitment but also to join the leaders in the front line of technology. The Company instantly took on the challenge with conviction.

*2 U.S. Clean Air Act In 1970, the so-called “Muskie Law,” an amendment to the U.S. Clean Air Act, was passed. Under the new law, the carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide levels in emissions of 1975- and 1976-model vehicles had to be at least 90% lower than for 1970 and 1971 models. At the time, these were the most stringent emission standards in the world.

Since first entering the Isle of Man TT races in 1954, Honda had used the racetrack as a testing ground, making excellent technological progress in the areas of speed and durability, as well as maximizing safety. The Company also learned much about setting and meeting difficult goals through its racing activities, and soon fully mastered the principles of engine combustion. Indeed, the renowned CVCC engine was the result of product development conducted through Honda’s racing activities.

The CVCC engine won acclaim not only for its clean emissions but also for its excellent fuel efficiency, and Honda later even offered its technologies to other companies. In subsequent tests conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CVCC received the No. 1 fuel efficiency ranking for four consecutive years. In addition to meeting stringent emission standards, therefore, the Civic CVCC delivered superior economy and performance, thus strengthening Honda’s reputation for technological excellence in the minds of customers.

To this day, Honda has pursued an unwavering policy of meeting social obligations and offering technologies that benefit the world. This policy began with the CVCC engine.

The Civic not only became the foundation for subsequent Honda compact vehicles but has since prevailed through periods of major change, including oil crises and diversifying values. It has become a true “car for the people,” as its name suggests.
Civic CVCC (1973)
In October 1972, the CVCC engine was unveiled during a ceremony at Tokyo’s Akasaka Prince Hotel, attended by Company founder Soichiro Honda (far right).
At an EPA public hearing in 1973 at a Department of Agriculture hall in Washington DC, the CVCC engine is declared to have met 1975 emissions standards.
The Civic gained popularity throughout the world.

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