Japanese automobile behemoth Honda Motor Co. is gearing up to put an end to domestic sales of its popular Civic sedans due to plunging demand for the cars in the country.

Contrary to the initial plans of the company to keep the hybrid version on the market, the automaker has decided to stop sales of the cars in Japan as soon as the existing inventories run out.

The Nikkei reported that the move was prompted by the fact that the demand for the Civic sedan has plunged in recent years amid the growing popularity of minivans and compact vehicles such as the Honda Fit.

Aiming to become a global auto maker, Honda introduced the Civic in 1972 as its first global strategic car. Civic sales peaked in 1975 when the company recorded largest annual volume of 177,000 vehicles.  In 2009, however, Honda sold only 9,000 Civics in the domestic market, signaling the weakening demand. According to Nikkei, Honda sold only 182 standard Civics and 270 Civic Hybrids for the month of October 2010.

Honda will continue to sell the Civic in North America, Europe and other markets abroad, said the company, which builds the model at 13 overseas factories.

The Civic seems to be doing well in the overseas markets. In the U.S., the Honda Civic has been one of the best-selling vehicles on the market with over 215,000 Civics sold till October 2010. The number of Civics sold in October alone was over 17,000.