FRANKFURT – Honda officials are bullish on sales prospects for the new European version of Japan-based brand’s Civic C-car, introduced today at the auto show here.

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito says the redesigned car theoretically is two generations ahead of the current model, telling WardsAuto he expects it to sell in much greater numbers.

“We aim to sell 100,000 on average, annually; that’s more than double this year,” Ito says of the car’s sales tally to date. “It’s completely different in performance and fuel efficiency, so we’re expecting that volume.”

The new Civic, a 5-door hatchback expected to reach European showrooms in early 2012, has undergone more stringent tests “than any other car in our history,” Ito says. The extra evaluation gave Honda’s product-development team some unique insights.

Consumer feedback led engineers to reduce road noise, a complaint that has hounded the current model.

Criticisms also prompted Honda to upgrade interior materials and inspired the “Clean-Dynamic” design language used to shape the new Civic, the auto maker says.

The design philosophy borrows from blended-body aircraft that meld fuselage and wings for superior aerodynamic performance and quiet.

Other inspirations were swimwear and track outfits worn by athletes that lessen wind resistance, Honda says.

The new Civic will be offered with three engine options – 1.4L and 1.8L gas engines and a 2.2L mill diesel.

All engines are combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox, an eco mode and stop/start. The 1.8L engine can be paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission, Honda says.

The clean diesel engine, expected to be the volume mill, produces just 110 g/km of carbon-dioxide emissions, the auto maker says.

bpope@wardsauto.com