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Honda to retrench in European diesel market

Tighter regulations prompt Subaru to take similar path

Honda will skip a diesel version of the CR-V sport utility vehicle to debut in Europe next year.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Honda Motor will discontinue production and sales of a flagship diesel-powered vehicle in Europe, accelerating its shift to electric and other green vehicles globally.

Prompted by increasingly strict regulations in Europe, the Japanese automaker will skip a diesel version of the CR-V sport utility vehicle to debut there next year, offering gasoline and hybrid versions only.

Honda builds all its CR-Vs for the European market in the U.K. Diesel-fueled varieties account for a significant portion of output. Last year, 36,000 diesel CR-Vs were made -- equivalent to a fifth of all European output, including other models.

Honda plans to have electricity-powered vehicles -- hybrids and fully electric vehicles -- account for two-thirds of European sales by 2025. It seeks to achieve the same proportion for its global sales around 2030, with its efforts in Europe leading the way. Currently, such vehicles make up only 5% of sales.

The automaker will not completely give up on diesel vehicles in Europe, however, retaining a diesel version of the Civic sedan, for example. It also will continue offering five diesel models in India.

Subaru, meanwhile, has halted development of two diesel models, including the Legacy Outback SUV sold in Europe and Australia. The move will take effect with models coming out around fiscal 2020.

Mitsubishi Motors will postpone the Japanese release of a diesel version of the Eclipse Cross SUV, scheduled to debut in the fall. The company had initially sought to roll out diesel versions starting in the current fiscal year, but changed its plans.

Automakers from other countries are taking similar steps. The U.K.'s Jaguar Land Rover said Thursday that it will make only electric vehicles starting in 2020.

Porsche is also likely to cut back on diesel offerings. The German company skipped a diesel version in the new Cayenne SUV unveiled in August. Sweden's Volvo Car will switch to electricity-propelled vehicles from 2019. 

Rising development costs amid stricter environmental regulations and the reduced popularity of diesel vehicles in the aftermath of the Volkswagen emissions scandal is driving the shift, especially at manufacturers with limited resources.

(Nikkei)

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