Its official! Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) is planning to launch a diesel version of the successful Honda City model.
“We are developing a diesel engine in Japan to power City. It could take us more than two years,” Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice-president (sales & marketing), HSCI was quoted as saying by the Business Standard.
Sen added that the rapid ‘dieselization’ of the market has happened only in the last one year as the difference between diesel and petrol prices has gone up from Rs. 10 to Rs. 21 per litre.
He also mentioned that Honda has no plans to import diesel engines and will continue to dominate in the petrol segment.
When do we expect it?
It will take 2 years for Honda to develop the new diesel variant and we can expect a launch in 2014. We are however sceptical about the market response to the City diesel since after 2 years the City diesel will have to face more competition than it would today. Currently, Honda City is losing a fair share of its buyers to the Volkswagen Vento and Maruti SX4, both of which already have diesel versions.
Honda City diesel Specifications
Honda has been a master in petrol engine technology, but it has got just one tried-and-tested diesel engine, the 2.2-litre i-Dtec that does duty in the European-specific Honda Accord and Accord Tourer.
However, this bigger engine will not find its place under the hood of the Honda City. Sen mentioned, the company will develop an entirely new engine for the City that may have an engine capacity of somewhere between 1.4 – 1.6 litres. Also read: Honda to launch facelifted Jazz by Diwali 2011
The current Honda City petrol version is powered by a 1.5 litre iVtec petrol motor that puts out 118 bhp of power at 6600 rpm and 146 Nm of torque at 4800 rpm.
Honda City Sales
HSCI sold 1,542 units of Honda City in April 2011, while Volkswagen sold 2,866 Ventos and Maruti sold 2,102 units of SX4 cars snatching the top spot on the sales list from the Honda City. In the coming months we can expect the new Ford Fiesta and the new Hyundai Verna to reshuffle the sales charts.
This is one of the main reasons for Honda readying a diesel power plant for the City as they need to regain the top spot on sales chart. Also read: Honda City vs. Volkswagen Vento: Comparison
How a Diesel version could boost sales
Considering Honda’s expertise in making engines and developing new technologies, the diesel engine for the City will make the car’s running cost low and will have an edge over other models provided the company does not get too ambitious by pricing it high. Also read: Honda Brio India launch in September 2011