Honda, Hybrids and Diesels
From Green Car Congress today, we have a quote from Honda President Takeo Fukui:
Once we are able to cut costs and lower the premium price of the hybrids, there is a possibility that in some markets like Japan, we will only sell Civic Hybrids and no more gasoline-powered Civics. We plan to install diesels in bigger models and hybrids in smaller models.
This sounds about right: for light vehicles, the additional costs of adding a hybrid drivetrain aren't that great, particularly when some parts under the hood can be eliminated. But hybrid drivetrains are pretty much a dollars-per-kilowatt deal, unlike engines where adding displacement isn't all that costly. So for larger vehicles diesel is a better option for fuel efficiency.
There's also mention of selling light trucks in the US with diesel drivetrains, something anathema to Honda until very recently (they sell a diesel CRV in Europe). I always thought when driving my old Element that it really ought to be diesel powered, to the point that I often found myself short shifting the thing. I for one would be thrilled to drive a Honda diesel in the US.