MALAGA, Spain -- Honda hopes a smaller diesel engine will help revive sales of its latest Civic in Europe, which is no longer the company's best-selling model in the region.
The current Civic offers Europeans only a single diesel, a 2.2-liter unit that is too large in a segment where most buyers want 1.5-liter or 1.6-liter diesel engines.
Honda has developed a 1.6-liter diesel that will be offered in the European Civic by the end of next year.
Alessandro Skerl, head of Honda's Italian unit, said the new 1.6-liter diesel engine will be crucial in a market like Italy where the majority of compact car buyers favor diesels.
Speaking at a press event here, Skerl said cars with small diesel engines of 1.6-liter displacement or less account more than 50 percent of compact segment sales. "We expect the 1.6-liter diesel to cover 65 percent of Civic sales," he said.
Honda is postponing the Civic's launch due to parts shortages caused by the floods in Thailand. The company had planned to begin the European rollout of the ninth-generation Civic in the U.K. and Germany in late January. Shipments are now expected to begin by the end of February.
The Civic debuts with 1.4-liter and 1.8-liter gasoline engines and a 2.2-liter diesel unit. The diesel is its greenest engine, with power increased by 10hp to 150hp while CO2 emissions are reduced by 20 percent to 110g/km.
The new Civic for Europe still has the fuel tank housed under the front seat to improve roominess and cargo space. The Japanese and U.S. Civics have the fuel tank positioned between the rear seat and the trunk.