Honda Cars India Limited (HCIL) – the Indian car making arm of the Japanese automaker – has now begun building the 1.6 liter i-DTEC turbo diesel engine at its Tapukara plant in Rajasthan. Currently, this engine is only meant for export, with Thailand being the market to which Honda plans to ship it. However, all this could soon change as Honda readies up the updated CR-V crossover and the all-new Civic sedan for Indian launches.
Internationally, both these vehicles use the 1.6 liter diesel motor, in addition to petrol engines they’re offered in. In India though, both these vehicles have been petrol-only, making them poor sellers. In fact, Honda had to discontinue the Civic sedan from India a few years ago when sales tanked due to a diesel option not being offered with the car.
The CR-V is also a poor seller compared to competition, which again can be explained due to its petrol-only handicap. Manufacturing the 1.6 liter i-DTEC diesel engine in India will give Honda the option of outfitting both the CR-V and Civic with this motor, putting them at par with competition.
Increases sales could be the result. While the diesel powered versions of the Indian CR-V and Civic are still a few months away, the 1.6 diesel motor will first find its way to Thailand. Honda currently manufactures 450 diesel engines a day but has a total installed capacity of 670 engines/day.
The additional capacity will be used to build the 1.6 liter i-DTEC motor, and this capacity could cater to the Indian market as well given the fact that both the CR-V and Civic – even with a diesel engine under their hoods – won’t be major volume baggers. Exports will start from July 2017, while manufacturing for domestic consumption is likely to start early next year.