Honda’s diesel car plans: How many cars likely?

So the folks at Honda are all excited about the upcoming Honda Amaze, which will be the company’s first diesel engine car in India, sporting a 1.5 litre iDtec diesel engine that’s pegged to be incredibly fuel efficient.

Update: Honda confirms five launches by 2016, all with diesel options

Ok, so now that Honda has a diesel engine in its portfolio, with the Honda Amaze diesel sedan scheduled for a launch in April being the first to get it, how many more Honda cars can Honda slip this engine into this year to take advantage of the demand for diesel cars in India? Also read: Honda Amaze diesel road test and review: an amazing package

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No diesel engine for present generation Honda City

The answer: None. Shocking, but true, admitted a Honda official on the sidelines of the Honda CR-V launch in the capital. Also read: 2013 Honda CR-V launched

The fact is the present-generation Honda City, which would have been a prime candidate for a diesel engine is not engineered to accept Honda’s new 1.5 litre or even 1.6 litre idtec engine. Honda says that the car will need plenty of re-engineering of the chassis to be able to mount the diesel engine and transmission in the City. This would be an expensive exercise for Honda to undertake and the company does not want to do that right now. It prefers to focus on the Honda Amaze, which it says, will be a car that is going to see plenty of demand, going by the initial queries the company has received.

How about a diesel Honda Brio?

This, Honda says is a possibility, given that the 1.5 idTec was being tested extensively in India using the Honda Brio hatchback (All those Honda Brio diesels spotted running around were test cars for the Honda Amaze). Honda has, for the time being, pulled these cars off the road as it now has the Honda Amaze in India – and this car has gone for homologation in the run up to its launch on April 1. Given the likely demand for the Honda Amaze, Honda is planning to first concentrate on meeting production targets for it. Once that stabilizes, Honda says, it is pretty easy to engineer the Brio diesel as another offering (the company did not confirm or deny its launch possibility).

Honda also confirmed that it has no plans to do anything about the current generation Honda Civic, which is barely selling a few cars, although it has not been officially discontinued as previously thought. No diesel, no updates on the Civic. The same is the case with the Honda Accord as well – no diesel, no updates for this year.

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New Jazz coming

What Honda did say is that an all-new Honda Jazz is expected by the end of the year, but not in India first. It would most likely come to some other Asian market first (probably Thailand or Japan) before coming to India early next year. Honda was non-committal about the engine choice for the new Jazz as to whether it would come with a diesel or not. They said it was too early to speculate on that as the car needs to be engineered to support a diesel engine, and that’s something the company wasn’t sure of at the moment.

So there you have it. The Honda Amaze is likely to be the only diesel from Honda this year, which may or may not be followed by a Honda Brio hatchback diesel later in the year. None of its other cars will get a diesel engine for now. Also read: Upcoming diesel cars for India in 2013