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HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, September 21, 2012
Hit by the shift in Indian customer preference to diesel cars, Japanese auto major Honda on Friday unveiled a rollout plan for diesel variants of its models in the next financial year. “An all-new diesel engine will be adopted sequentially to new models starting in financial year 2013-14,” Takanobu Ito, CEO, Honda Motors, said in a press conference in Japan.

Honda, which has only petrol cars in India, has suffered due to the price differential between petrol and diesel.

The small car Brio helped salvage some sales, but even this tapered off in recent months with August seeing a 21% dip.

The first diesel car will be a sedan based on the Brio platform. “Honda will add sedan-type and utility-type models utilising the platform of the Brio, Honda’s strategic model for Asia,” Ito said.

A diesel SUV based on the City will be launched by 2015, pitted against the recently-launched Nissan Duster and the Ford Ecosport, which comes next year. Local sourcing and production will make the cars affordable, Ito said.

The company has big plans in the two-wheeler segment as well, and will enter the popular 100 cc segment in the first half of 2013, where it is posing stiff challenge to erstwhile partner Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj.

Worldwide, Honda is looking to double its car sales to 6 million vehicles in four years, and 25 million motorcycles.