You may have read many a news item on Honda planning to bring in a diesel-engined Brio to India. But the fact is such a car won’t be available till early 2014. And here’s why we say so.
What’s true is that Honda has two diesel engines in its portfolio globally at the moment. The first which is a unit that has been around since 2003 and was upgraded in 2008 to meet new Euro emission norms is the 2.2 litre four-cylinder diesel engine. This was initially called the 2.2 i-CTDi, which then became a 2.2 i-DTec when it was upgraded. This engine does duty in the Honda Accord in some European countries and earlier in the European Civic as well.
The second engine, and the more promising of the two, is the 1.6-litre i-DTec diesel engine that was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show two months ago. This engine is part of Honda’s new environment-friendly technology program, called “Earth Dreams Technology” that includes development programs for compact petrol and diesel engines, new dual-motor hybrid system, an all-wheel-drive hybrid system, a new constantly variable transmission and a new electric drive train.
Honda claims the aim of this development program is to become the leader in fuel efficiency across segments in the next three years and to reduce emissions across all Honda products by more than 30 per cent in the next eight years.
Seki Inaba, Marketing Director, Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI)has been quoted by CarToq in the past saying that Honda is keenly eyeing diesel technology for the Indian market. He said a small capacity diesel engine of below 1.5-litres will take at least three years to develop.
Now considering Honda has just unveiled a 1.6 litre diesel engine and had said it would be focusing on compact diesel engines that could go into the Brio and the Jazz, it isn’t likely that Honda will be able to introduce either of these cars with a diesel engine variant before 2014.
Considering it already has a 1.6 litre diesel and a 2.2 litre diesel in its portfolio, the cars that can likely benefit from these diesel engines are the Honda City, Honda Civic, Honda Accord and Honda CR-V. The 1.6-litre i-DTec will first power the European Civic, before it goes into other cars. Therefore, a Honda Brio diesel or Jazz diesel are not currently on the horizon.
Speculation of a 1.2-litre Brio diesel is a little premature at the moment, because such development including testing is going to take at least 18 months time, and therefore not likely to be available in India before 2014. Can you wait that long?