Honda will launch a smaller capacity diesel engine to help it compete with rival car manufacturers in Europe.
Honda UK managing director David Hodgetts told AM's sister magazine Fleet News that the new engine would be introduced about a year into the life of the next-generation Civic model, but could also be offered on Accord and Jazz models.
The Japanese manufacturer began producing its own diesel engine in 2004, which was launched in the Accord, followed by the CR-V and Civic.
The 140 2.2-litre i-CTDi engine was replaced in the CR-V in 2007 with the new 150bhp i-DTEC, which was also fitted to the current Accord in 2008.
However, rival car manufacturers offering a range of diesel engines have been able to attract more business users because of the lower asking prices of smaller diesels on medium cars, while Honda has only been able to compete at the top-end of the sector.
Honda withdrew the diesel Civic from sale this year as its i-CTDi engine was not Euro V compliant and the model is also in its run-out year.
It is likely that the next Civic - due to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, and on sale in the UK from January 2012 - will be initially offered with the 150bhp i-DTEC engine, but a year into its life will come with a smaller diesel option.
Honda hopes to target less than 110g/km with the new engine in the Civic, and given the appeal to fleet customers of smaller diesel engines in upper-medium cars, such as 1.6-litre versions of the Volkswagen Passat, Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508 and Citroën C5, it is expected that the Accord will also gain the new engine.
It is unlikely that the current Jazz, which has just become available with a hybrid variant being sold alongside conventional petrol models, will receive the new engine.
But the next generation model expected to be seen for the first time in 2013 could be offered with a diesel engine option.
Hodgetts confirmed that Honda planned to develop a broad range of powertrain technologies, including petrol, diesel, hybrid and ultimately hydrogen fuel cells.
However, despite Honda's pioneering work in fuel cells, he still believed the technology was 10 years away from mass market introduction.