Honda predicts that sales of the hybrid version of its new CR-V crossover will be healthy enough to compensate for the loss of the diesel model. Honda was the first automaker to sell a hybrid in Europe with the Insight in 1999 but ditched the technology in favor of diesel. Rival Toyota persisted and now hybrids account for almost half its European sales, according to the company’s 2018 figures.
The CR-V hybrid marks Honda’s return to the technology in the mainstream market after ending production of the Jazz Hybrid subcompact in 2015. The automaker says there is such strong demand from car buyers for fuel-efficient alternatives to diesel that it thinks the hybrid will account for half of the 60,000 annual sales predicted for the new CR-V in Europe. The hybrid will go on sale in March, joining the 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline model. Honda expects the CR-V hybrid to outsell the gasoline variant in the midterm.
“It’s the most important Honda powertrain in the last 10 years,” said Dave Hodgetts, managing director of Honda in the UK, the company’s biggest European market.
Honda said it has priced the hybrid to cost about the same as the diesel had it been continued. With CO2 emissions of 120 grams per kilometer, the two-wheel-drive hybrid version is roughly in line with its diesel predecessor, even allowing for the different testing protocols between the old diesel and new hybrid.