While some of us here at ABG HQ are major fans of BMW's diesel engines, we were disappointed when BMW opted to enter the U.S. market only with the twin turbo 3.0-liter six cylinder diesel. As fantastic an engine as that is, the 2.0-liter four cylinder is also plenty strong and yields even better fuel efficiency. At an event at BMW's North American headquarters this week, VP engineering Tom Baloga told the audience that BMW would introduce the four-cylinder diesel to the U.S. lineup now that tougher fuel economy standards have been imposed. In keeping with BMW's performance image, we will get the more powerful variants, likely the dual turbo, 204 hp version used in the 123d rather than the super-high-efficiency versions. Even with that engine, we averaged 37 mpg in the 123d last year. BMW plans to clean up the four cylinder diesel with a lean NOx trap like VW uses for the Jetta and Golf TDI rather than a more expensive and complex urea injection system. The four cylinder will most likely go into the 3 and maybe 1 series cars with the six being reserved for larger cars like the 5, 7 and X5.
Japanese auto maker Honda Motor Company is working on its expansion plans in India. It intends to launch a specific small car for the Asian markets. The new small car will be placed in A-segment but will not compete with Nano. "We don't have any plan for ultra low-cost car. We are still undergoing tough times in many traditional markets," Honda Chief Executive Takanobu Ito said. "Our top priority is on China and India, where we would like to grow the size of our business as much as possible," he added.
Honda is eyeing India and China as its top markets where it intends to book profits earlier than the rest of the world. It sold 50,600 cars in China in October which is up 42 per cent from the previous year. India is a smaller market. Honda sold 34,430 cars between April and October, an increase of 38 per cent from a year earlier.
Honda has premium sedans in India like Accord, City and Civic. It launched premium hatch model Jazz earlier this year. However, its second car model will be more competitive and at “expected and accepted” price levels of Indian customers.