Honda diesel development set to take a back seat

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Honda’s future development of diesel engines looks set to take a back seat as mega markets North America and China show low demand for the technology. Honda CEO and president Takahiro Hachigo says the company doesn’t plan to neglect markets where customer demand for diesel-powered vehicles is high, but insists Honda won’t try to force the technology on markets that don’t want it. “In Europe as well as Asia we are selling the diesel engines to a certain extent, but what will happen in the future is really up to what our customers want to see,” Hachigo-san said. “Looking at the world today, major world markets like North America and China, in these markets the ratio of diesel is small, and given this fact rather than trying to develop diesel engines for the global market I think we would have to try to consider the different region requirements and come up with diesel engines where required and the type of engines that are wanted.” Diesel-powered vehicles have been on the nose throughout the automotive industry in recent months following the ‘dieselgate’ saga affecting millions of Volkswagen Group vehicles around the world. The spotlight on the technology has been so intense that some have even speculated that diesel engines may cease to be produced in the foreseeable future. Honda, like fellow Japanese manufacturer Toyota/Lexus, has prioritised electrification over diesel power to achieve its fuel consumption and performance goals. At one stage Honda offered four hybrid models in its Australian range – more than almost any other brand – though that number has dipped to just one as it phases out its first-generation hybrid range and slowly introduces newer, next-gen technology. The company also has a heavy focus on other electrification technologies, recently showcasing a series of development prototypes including plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles. Honda will also launch the hydrogen fuel cell-powered Clarity in Japan early next year.