Leading the charge last year were the Accord, strengthened by its first-ever diesel engine offering, and the Jazz small car, Takeo Fukui, (See related story: Japanese Auto Makers Invade European Car Market)Motor Co. Ltd. president and CEO, says.
The auto maker is expanding the use of the 2.2L i-CTDi 4-cyl. turbordiesel to other models. The engine bowed last month in the CR-V, and this summer it will power the all-new FR-V, a compact multipurpose vehicle with a unique 3+3 seat configuration. (See related story: Honda Europe Shoots for 70,000 Diesels in 2005)
New Honda Civic hatchback developed for Europe.
“With this expanded lineup of diesel models, we plan to increase our sales in those markets where diesel vehicles are more popular,” Fukui says.
Honda also unwraps a new Civic hatchback close-to-production concept being developed for the European market. With a wider body and sportier look, it will be equipped with either the i-CTDi diesel or a gasoline engine.
Both the Civic and the diesel engine for Europe will be produced at Honda’s Swindon, U.K., manufacturing plant. Engine assembly is being added for this model, which goes on sale in early 2006 positioned as a more premium vehicle than the one it replaces.
Every model in the Civic lineup for Europe will have Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist stability control system and side-curtain airbags, Fukui says.
Also on display in Geneva is a prototype of the European edition of the Legend, decked out with advanced safety technology. Honda says it has the world’s first Collision Mitigation Brake System, designed to alert the driver to a potential collision and then assist with braking.
It also features Lane-Keeping Assist System (lane-departure warning) to keep drivers from straying from their lane. Intelligent Night Vision detects pedestrians at night, and the Legend has Honda’s Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system, which debuted on the Acura RL.
Many of the concept’s technologies will show up on the production version, set to hit the European market next year.
Fukui also says in addition to the 20 FCX fuel-cell fleet vehicles on the road in Japan and the U.S. as part of test or government programs, the auto maker plans to introduce an FCX fuel-cell car to a private customer in the U.S. in 2005.