AutoblogGreen spoke with Honda of America spokesman Sage Marie at a media event yesterday about the company's plans to introduce a clean diesel to the US market in 2009. The new 2.2L diesel engine is already available in the European Honda Accord which is sold in North America as the Acura TSX. At the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, Acura announced the engine would debut in 2009 but rumors earlier this fall indicated the program had been put on hold or canceled due to technical issues. Honda was reported to have experienced issues passing emissions with the automatic transmission version of the TSX.
According to Marie, the program is in "wait and see" mode and the delay is due to commercial, not technical, reasons. A combination of factors, including continuing high prices for diesel fuel and the general collapse of car sales in recent months, was cited as the problem. With volumes of all cars in decline, Honda is reluctant to introduce what is expected to be a low volume model. Instead, the company will watch both the overall market and diesel sales in particular and reevaluate as needed.