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Autoweek said:
Honda studying feasibility of bringing diesel-powered vehicles to the U.S.
LINDSAY CHAPPELL | Automotive News
Posted Date: 4/14/05

DETROIT -- A Honda Motor Co. executive says the company is studying ways to offer diesel-powered vehicles in the United States.

The only thing stopping Honda is its inability to meet U.S. emission regulations, says Michiyoshi Hagino, Honda senior managing director.

"We are working to meet the regulations, and we are going to offer diesel cars in the United States in the very near future," Hagino told an audience at the SAE World Congress in Detroit this week.

Speaking through an interpreter, Hagino said: "We are very much aware that there are many customers in the United States who would like to have a Honda with a diesel engine. Unfortunately, the regulations for those vehicles are very severe. At this point we do not have the technology to meet those regulations."

Later, a Honda public relations spokesman said the interpreter didn’t correctly translate Hagino’s comments and that he said: “We know that there are a lot of potential customers in the U.S for diesel models. However, the emission standard is so high and currently we don't have technologies to meet it. We will try hard and hopefully we can develop technologies which can meet the regulation in the near future.”

Diesel engines are one of the few holes in Honda's U.S. product plan. The company has been active in promoting hybrid vehicles such as the Insight. It also was an early investor in research of hydrogen, natural gas and solar-powered cars.

But Honda has been slow to invest in diesel technology.

Last year the company introduced its first Honda-built diesel auto engine, a 2.2-liter diesel offered in the Accord sold in Europe. For 2005 model year it also introduced a diesel version of its European-market CR-V SUV. In the past, the company bought a small number of diesels from Isuzu and Rover.

Honda builds the diesels in Japan, but will begin producing them at its plant in Swindon, England, next year.

Hagino said diesel engines are a key part of the industry's global effort to limit carbon dioxide emissions. He predicted that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will double by 2020 unless the industry weans itself from traditional gasoline engines.

"We must achieve a dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions," he said. "Focusing on one area, such as diesels or hybrids, is not enough. Gains in gasoline engines must also be attained."
Autoweek said:
Car News briefs: BMW to bring diesels to U.S.
Posted Date: 4/14/05

DETROIT -- BMW will begin selling diesel-powered vehicles in the United States in 2007. Its first entrant likely will be an SUV.

"It's not a question of when to introduce it but how to go forward in the United States," said Burkhard Goeschel, BMW AG's board member for r&d. "We can meet 2007 emission standards. Diesel should have a place in the American market. High torque and low fuel consumption make it the most useful engine for an SUV."

Goeschel told of BMW's plans here last week at the SAE World Congress.

BMW offers diesel engines in all but two of its models sold in Europe. Nearly one-half of all BMWs sold in Europe are powered by diesels.

In the United States, federal clean air regulations being phased in over the next four model years require low-sulfur diesel fuel and low-emission engines.

Last year, BMW sold 69,829 X3 and X5 SUVs in the United States. -GREG BOWENS
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