Honda drops diesel for electric spark in Europe, says GlobalData

Following the news that Honda is planning to drop diesel from sale in Europe;

David Leggett, Automotive Editor at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Honda’s decision to abandon diesel in Europe as early as 2021 reflects a dramatic decline in diesel share of the European car market as consumers react to negative diesel publicity (such as Volkswagen’s ‘dieselgate’ scandal) and considerable uncertainty over the future regulatory environment for a vehicle fuel now seen as a greater source of harmful tailpipe emissions than previously thought. Moreover, just 18.1% of Honda’s sales in Europe were diesel in 2018. That’s the lowest exposure to diesel after Toyota (with just 7.8%).

“The Japanese carmaker will instead focus on developing more models with electrified powertrains, with a target of electrifying all of its European cars by 2025. Honda’s move also reflects tighter upcoming EU rules on CO2 emissions. From next year, stricter CO2 emissions standards will apply on new cars sold in the EU and there will be stiff fines for non-compliance with new fleet average figures.

“In addition, Honda is planning to shut its UK manufacturing facility at Swindon, which makes diesel engines. The direction of travel is clear.

“At the recent Frankfurt Show Honda showed its ‘e’ compact fully electric car, which is squarely aimed at the European consumer and goes on sale from 2020. Honda will be hoping that this model, along with a rationalised product portfolio, can lift its sluggish European sales and boost profitability in a region where it has been struggling.

“Honda has also said it will reduce the number of vehicle model variants globally to a third of current levels by 2025 which will reduce global production costs by 10%. That also opens up the opportunity to channel more resources into developing advanced technologies, such as e-mobility and automated drive.”

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