Honda working on diesel engines for compact car segment in India

An Indian minister’s proposal to not impose tax on diesel-powered cars seems to be working in Honda’s favor. The Japanese automaker is looking to India emerging as the hub for diesel-fueled cars and in this regard, has begun work on diesel engines for compact cars. Though nothing concrete has been announced with no word on the type of engine, Honda is cashing in on the country’s expanding automobile market.

The company is said to be working on prototypes of the diesel engine at its R&D; center in Japan’s Tochigi. The engines being developed will be for 1.4-1.5-liter compact cars. Those looking forward to seeing the new cars running on diesel will have to wait a while as the work is still in the developmental stages.

Once the engines are developed, we’re likely to see Honda Siel using them to run models like the Jazz and Brio which are bit hits in India. Diesel, being more affordable than petrol, will give modest income families a chance to purchase compact Honda cars more easily. Siel will also look to set up an engine plant to meet global demands.

Honda Siel presently has one plant in the country capable of manufacturing one lakh petrol cars though that number can be increased to 1.2 lakhs. The plan to set up a diesel plant will see the company looking to produce one lakh diesel-run automobiles.

At the moment, Honda has only one diesel plant in the United Kingdom. This has affected the company’s sales as the gap between global petrol and diesel prices widens. Also, since Indian diesel has a higher sulphur content, the engines manufactured for the European market are different. Once it sets up its plant in India, it is likely that it will see sales in India rise. Till then, we’ll have to contend ourselves with the petrol-driven automobiles available in the market.

Author: Jorge Foster

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