Honda has been readying the diesel version of its entry level Brio for some time. The car has been caught testing and is in a very advanced stage if pre-launch testing and benchmarking. The Brio is expected to be the first diesel offering from Honda, a company which has, for some reason shied away from developing diesel a range of engines worldwide. In its oil burning avatar, the Brio will most likely be powered by a 1.2 liter i-DTEC power plant. Straight out of Honda’s earth dreams project, which would also see a 1.6 liter power plant spawn, the engine is expected to be a three cylinder unit. Power and torque output is expected to be in the region of 70bhp and 175Nm respectively.
Earlier Honda was expected to launch the Brio in early 2013, but the new CEO at the helm, Mr. Hironori Kanayama is intent on making Honda one of the leading players in the Indian market. Inside sources suggest that the whole process of development, testing and benchmarking has been expedited to bring the diesel variant to the market as soon as possible. A sedan variant of the car is also expected sometime in 2013.
The recent increase in the prices of petrol has shrunken the market for gasoline powered cars even further. This is increasingly impacting Honda’s topline and bottomline in India. With no diesel variants in its arsenal, the anxiety at the Honda head office to get an oil burning car in the market may very well be understood. Apart from that, Honda has production capacity lying idle in its Tapukara plant in Rajasthan, and the situation is not financially very pleasing for them as they are losing money on maintenance and depreciation. It’s important that cars like the Brio diesel, City diesel, and probably a few more hitherto unseen models churn up some volumes for the company so as to utilize their production infrastructure.
The Brio diesel, upon its introduction, will compete with the likes of the Ford Figo and Beat diesel – essentially small hatchbacks, comprising the entry level diesel car segment. You can expect the Brio diesel range to start from Rs 5.0 lakh and go all the way up to 6.5 lakh ex-showroom.