‘There’s Still A Market For Diesel’ Says Top UK Car Boss

Wed 31st Jan 2018

Despite a change to the law and a decline in the sale of diesel motors, it’s not the end of the road for diesel cars, that’s according to Honda UK boss David Hodgetts.

Latest figures suggest that diesel car sales fell by 17.1% in 2017, but that hasn’t stopped Honda producing a diesel version of their popular Civic model.

“We’ve really done well with the petrol Civic and, to be fair, we’ve really taken some ex-diesel customers back across to petrol,” Hodgetts said.

“But there’s still a market for diesel, so the Civic diesel will really help us get overall Civic sales up.

“We will aim roughly for that sector average, which is not far short of 40% of diesel. That means going slightly more to the corporate sector than it does for our petrol mix.

“But we’ve done pretty well this year with both retail and corporate, and our overall sales have held up pretty well, despite the issue with diesel."

Though Hodgetts is not burying his head in the sand to the UK Government’s distinctly anti-diesel outlook, he admits that any debate on the future of the engines needs to be based on facts and not myth.

“We need to balance the debate about the overall situation,” Hodgetts said, referring to the push for electrification of cars over diesel technology.  “As we know, diesels are particularly good for certain driving environments and long-distance drivers, while petrol may well be better in some urban environments.

“There's a place for diesel, and it’s proven to be the least CO2-emitting technology by some way.

“You can only bring on electrified technology at a certain pace, and the bigger thing to me is not just our ability to engineer those solutions, but to give solutions that customers can actually afford to buy.”

Honda are exploring all options on engine technology and Hodgetts admits that state-of-the-art solutions are being explored as alternatives to ‘dirty’ fuels, and hydrogen is not off the menu.

“It’s a complete catch-22: the cost of the technology with the very small volumes is so high that there aren't many cars being produced. The manufacturers may say that there’s no hydrogen infrastructure, but who’s going to introduce that infrastructure if it isn’t the automotive sector?

“I think that Honda had the correct vision 10 to 15 years ago to start developing the technology. It’s very expensive and it’s not going to be quick to get it to a commercially viable product range, but we still feel that as an ideal solution, hydrogen is the endgame.”

Check out our range of the latest Honda Civic models, in both petrol and diesel. They can be ordered from the comfort of your home and delivered direct to your door anywhere in mainland Britain.