Posted: April 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm
Honda Motor Co. has joined India’s fast-growing market for diesel-powered cars with the introduction of its first such model in the country.
Honda’s $11,000 Amaze small sedan comes with a standard 1.2-liter gasoline engine. But the company predicts the better-selling option will be a new 1.5-liter diesel, Honda’s smallest oil burner to date.
Honda Amaze diesel sedan
The Amaze diesel claims fuel economy of about 61 mpg, making it India’s most fuel efficient, according to the company. The four-banger produces 99 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque. Honda says the engine was developed specifically for the Indian market.
The Amaze will compete with such models as the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, Chevrolet Sail and Toyota Etios. Honda expects demand to be strongest in India’s smaller cities, where it is expanding its dealer network this year.
Bloomberg News notes that diesel fuel is 28% cheaper than gasoline in India. it says the price difference boosted the country’s demand for diesel cars 27% between April 2012 to February 2013. Sales of gasoline-fueled cars plunged 17% over the same period.
Honda’s sales in the fiscal year ended March 31 jumped 35% to 73,500 units—less than 4% of the Indian passenger car market. Industry leader Maruti Suzuki sold 861,300 vehicles there during the same period.