Coming soon: Diesel Honda City

The inevitable has happened. Honda has finally reacted to the cut-throat competition in the C-segment. According to Business Standard, Honda has planned a diesel powerplant to help the City fend off competition.

Globally, Honda has only one diesel engine, developed for Europe. This 2.2-litre engine cannot be used as Honda City needs an engine of 1.4-1.6 litres.

In the premium mid-size sedan segment, 65 per cent cars sold by City’s competitors run on diesel. The growing difference between petrol and diesel prices has seen newcomer Volkswagen Vento (which has both petrol and diesel versions) race ahead of City in the last two months. Volkswagen sold 3,973 units of Vento in March, as compared to City’s 2,773 units.

Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice-president (sales & marketing), HSCI, told Business Standard: “We are developing a diesel engine in Japan to power City. It could take us more than two years.”

The C-segment is one of the fastest-growing, with sales rising 25 per cent a year on an average. About 140,000 units were sold in 2010-11. Honda City has been the leader for a decade. Its share was 35 per cent in 2010. Its nearest competitor, Hyundai Verna, sold half as many units. But last week, Hyundai has released the ‘Fluidic’ Verna that has clocked more than 5K bookings within days. So it’s high time Honda acted.

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