PARIS – Honda Motor Europe Ltd. is looking to boost its diesel-vehicle sales to 70,000 units next year, expanding diesel availability to two cross/utility vehicles.

The auto maker currently sells its turbocharged 2.2L i-CTDi as an option on the European-specification Accord midsize car, but it will broaden its diesel range to include the CR-V small CUV and the freshly introduced FR-V for the '05 model year.

'05 Honda FR-V.

That will bring total diesel-vehicle sales to 70,000 units for calendar 2005, Honda Europe President Shigeru Takagi tells Ward’s on the sidelines of a press conference at the auto show here.

The diesel mill was first introduced last year at the Geneva auto show.

Honda is making the move "to demonstrate how determined we are to introduce cars that meet the needs of our customers now and in the future," Takagi says.

The Civic-based CR-V is redesigned for '05, getting the optional diesel as part of an overhaul that will now include roll sensors and stability control. The FR-V spin-off (badged the Endix in Japan) is a 6-seat "MPV" offering similar in size to the CR-V. The diesel enters Honda’s lineup next year, following its November launch date.

Honda reportedly plans to sell 60,000 CR-Vs and 20,000 FR-Vs in Europe in 2005.

jstoll@primediabusiness.com