Although subject to working through some still sticky post-earthquake parts distribution challenges, American Honda Motor Co. on Monday indicated that it still plans a nationwide sales push in the United States late this year for the latest version of its compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered Civic GX model.

A Tokyo-based spokesperson with the U.S. arm of the Japanese automaker said Monday Honda plans to launch the sales push of the GX CNG cars in the second half of this year.

From the start of 2011, Honda America has continued to offer a CNG version of its Civic sedan model, although at what the car maker has conceded is a somewhat costly $26,200 for a compact model. In the current $4-4.50/gal pump price for gasoline, Honda’s website touts the chance to “get off of gasoline” entirely.

Honda stresses that its GX offers gas-equivalent mileage of 24 mpg and 36 mpg in the city and highway, respectively, noting that it expects the 2012 Civic model’s fuel efficiency to reach 39 mpg. For nonfleet, noncommercial car buyers, Honda’s Civic remains one of the few factory-built CNG vehicles (see Daily GPI, April 1).

First offered in the United States in 1998, concentrating on California, New York, Utah and Oklahoma among 29 other states, American Honda plans to expand Civic GX plans to all 50 states as more CNG fueling stations are developed amid rising environmental and traditional fuel concerns, according to the Honda spokesperson.

The aftermath of the March 11 quake and tsunami in northeastern Japan is still impacting the car maker’s ability to get parts distributed, so the company is still not making any predictions for a specific start date at its Indiana manufacturing facility that is slated to produce 200,000 GX models annually. Many of the Honda production lines around the world are still short of parts, the Tokyo spokesperson said.

Currently more than 8,000 Honda Civic GX models have been sold in the United States, the only place where the company markets this model.

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