Negativity surrounding diesel has accelerated moves that Honda has been making away from the fuel for some time, said Phil Webb, its UK head of cars.
Later this year, Honda will launch a new CR-V with no diesel option – another indication of its desire to progress from petrol/diesel to hybrid, to all-electric, to fuel cell.
“Honda has always been on a journey towards fuel-cell-powered vehicles. But we couldn’t have predicted how quickly the fall in diesel’s popularity has happened,” said Webb. Registration figures for January to June show Civic diesel volumes down 18.45% year-on-year, and a 44.41% fall in HR-V diesel registrations.
Webb said it was “exacerbated by the lack of clear understanding and regulation”. He said Honda had supported dealers in getting the right messages to consumers on the suitability of diesel for certain customers. In London, low-mileage commuters had turned away from diesel, but in areas with high-mileage drivers, its greater economy over petrol makes sense – and makes it a lot harder to let go of. “We’ll take those customers on the journey with us away from diesel,” said Webb. The Urban EV electric car is due in 2019.
On WLTP, Webb said: “We’ve been working on the changes for many months and we’ve no issues to contend with. When we moved CR-V production from Swindon and HR-V from Mexico to Japan we made the production changes to be WLTP-compliant.”