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Honda to launch diesel Brio sedan in April 2013



Things are finally beginning to take shape at Honda Cars India. After being troubled by two natural disasters in 2011, a not-so-easy break up with its erstwhile Indian partner and falling sales, the company is now on the verge of a turnaround in fortunes.

Come mid-October, Honda will first bring in the automatic variant of the Brio hatch. Expected to be Rs 60,000 to 70,000 more than the equivalent manual trim. Fast forward matters to a few weeks and the company will launch a CNG version of its best-selling City saloon. But the bigger news is what happens in 2013.

Honda is up and ready with a diesel engine for India and the first car to receive it will be a saloon version of the Brio. Expected to measure less than 4-metres, it will take on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Tata Indigo CS and the upcoming Verito compact sedan. Importantly, it will also be the first recipient of a diesel engine, a motor that is likely to be a common factor among all Honda cars below Rs 10 lakh sold in India.

This is a new motor that derives its genes from the 1.6-litre diesel engine that went on sale earlier this year in Europe in the Civic. Likely to be either a 1.4-litre or a 1.5-litre engine, this engine is being developed for the Indian market and will be exported from here to other markets as well. Major engine components for this engine will be made right here in India, thus increasing the localisation content. Little is known about the power and torque figures, but expect this motor to be offered in different states of tune for cars like the Brio, Brio sedan, the City and Jazz. Power figures could range in the region of 70 bhp to 110 bhp with torque in the region of 17 to 22 kgm. What is key here is that it is a four-cylinder motor and could feature Honda's i-DTec technology. Likely to be offered with a manual transmission for the moment, this motor will become the mainstay of Honda's diesel offerings in India.

Honda will launch the Brio sedan in April next year and it will also be offered with the 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine as well.