Honda, which has been primarily focused on its hybrid drivetrains, has changed its strategy to bring about a range of diesel engines as it seeks to further expand marketshare in Australia and around the world.
The Honda Civic hatch will be the first vehicle to get a diesel engine in April this year with the CR-V SUV to follow very late this year or early 2014.
Honda Australia’s director and head of sales and marketing, Stephen Collins, told CarAdvice that diesel was an opportunity too big to miss.
“We took a decision about a year and half ago that the diesel market was continuing to grow and it was an opportunity that we couldn’t miss.” Collins said.
He admitted that it had taken Honda some time to get its first diesel here (Honda has been selling diesels in Europe for some time) but that it’s likely to be part of its ongoing strategy in the future.
“I think our strategy up until a year and half ago was more hybrid but now it’s a combination of diesel and hybrid.”
Given that Australia’s hybrid market makes up just 1.5 percent of annual sales (of which a great deal are the locally produced Camry Hybrids), while sales of diesel passenger and SUV vehicles have rapidly increased, the shift in Honda’s strategy isn't unexpected.
Last year more than a third of SUV buyers purchased a diesel. In 2012, 57,435 private buyers decided on a diesel SUV, a 50.6 per cent increase over 2011 and more than double the growth of petrol SUVs. Meanwhile 45,133 diesel passenger cars were sold last year, compare with just 13,231 hybrids.
More than a third of SUV buyers purchased a diesel last year. In 2012, 57,435 private buyers decided on a diesel SUV, a 50.6 per cent increase over 2011 – more than double the growth of petrol SUVs.