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It all started with Maruti Suzuki declaring that the company will stop the production of its diesel engine cars post BS-Vi emission norms kick in. The largest carmaker of India indeed shocked the industry with the news and then followed Tata Motors, announcing that they will discontinue the diesel engines in the smaller cars in their model line-up in India. So is it the end of the road for diesel lovers in India? No, not according to Honda, the Japanese maker had recently hinted that the company will continue offering diesel engines with its line-up in India. As of now, Honda’s model line-up in India starts from Jazz premium hatchback and includes other models like Amaze sub-4 meter compact sedan, WR-V compact crossover, City sedan in the C-Segment, BR-V compact SUV, Civic sedan in the D-Segment, and the CR-V full size SUV.
The diesel engine offered in the Amaze, Jazz, City, WR- V and BR-V are the same, it is a 1.5L i-DTEC turbocharged unit rated to deliver 98.6 Bhp and 200 Nm on tap, while the Civic sedan and CR-V SUV come with a 1.6L i-DTEC diesel unit rated to deliver 118 Bhp and 300 Nm. Honda makes both the engines in India and the engines have been heavily localized for the Indian market. As far as transmission duties are concerned, the two diesel engines come with a 6 speed manual gearbox as standard and the Amaze and Jazz come with a CVT automatic gearbox, while the CR-V SUV comes with a 9 speed automatic gearbox.
Talking about the future of diesel engines on its models in India, the senior vice president of marketing and sales for Honda Cars India Limited, Rajesh Goel spoke:
From our experience, for the fuel choice among petrol or diesel, 80 per cent of customers make a rational choice based on consideration of driving distance and recovery period. However, there are still 20 per cent customers who make an emotional choice towards a particular fuel. But we believe the demand for diesel will not vanish immediately. Therefore, we will continue to offer the diesel models in line with market demand and gradually move towards future alternatives. Smooth run-out of BS-IV vehicles and switch over to BSVI vehicles will be a key task during this financial year. HCIL will progressively introduce BS VI compliant models from fourth quarter of this fiscal.
The statement from Honda Cars India Limited comes at a time when several other car makers in India are ready to move away from diesel models seeing the rise in prices with the adoption of BS-VI norms. However, Honda has already made significant investment in the diesel engines it uses in India and hence one can hope the Honda diesel engines to be upgraded to meet the compliance criteria of the upcoming BS-VI emission norms that are set to be enforced from April 1, 2020.