The Honda Civic diesel has been discontinued two years after going on-sale, a result of low demand for small oil-burners in Australia.
The decision comes as small surprise. Honda Australia launched its $500 pricier, but restyled and better-equipped, UK-made Civic hatch range at the start of this week — without any mention of the DTi-S variant.
See more details of the new Civic here (pictured at bottom).
Now a company spokesperson has confirmed the 88kW/300Nm diesel version has been axed, meaning the 104kW/174Nm 1.8-litre petrol version with six-speed manual or five-speed auto options is now the sole engine, until the 231kW Type-R belatedly arrives some time next year.
The company blames a lack of demand for the decision. The diesel accounted for only 3.0 per cent of Civic sales. The lack of any auto option — it was a six-speed manual only — was a big factor.
This pattern is reflective of a wider industry trend. In 2015 alone, sales of diesel-powered passenger vehicles are down 24.6 per cent in the private sector, and 31.0 per cent among fleets — about ten-times greater than the rate of decline in petrol versions.
The decision to kill the diesel, then, won’t impact much on sales. But as Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told us recently, the company has to explore other options to boost the Civic.
Sales of its UK hatch and Thai-made sedan are down 52.5 per cent this year to 1447 units — about 10 per cent of the volume achieved by the class-leading Toyota Corolla.
That said, Honda seems to have picked up a lot of the slack from the struggling Civic (a victim, we would add, of tougher exchange rates that are doing its pricing no favours) with the new HR-V crossover, which has achieved a stellar start.
This year, its first on sale, it has achieved 2981 registrations already, making it the company’s top-seller and placing it among class leaders.