Honda planning fleet offensive with new Civic diesel
New manager, corporate operations Lee Wheeler, who has come back to the fleet department after a couple of years elsewhere within the firm, says the long-awaited new engine will allow them to compete against the major players in the sector.
The firm has struggled with the 2.2 150bhp diesel engine due to its higher price and, although it offer 110g/km, a perception that it is not as efficient as competitors. The new engine though, will see the Civic rated at 94g/km, and delivering 120bhp.
‘The vast majority of the fleet market wants 130bhp or less and low emissions,’ said Wheeler. ‘The new engine in the Civic allows us to offer this. We believe that combined with Honda’s strong reputation for reliability and low running costs from its British-built cars, we can win a lot of new business.’
Wheeler conceded that the firm had been fairly quiet in fleet in the last few years – share has dropped from a high of 35,000 units to less than half that – as slow-to-market diesel engines, the strong Yen and unforeseen global events such as the Japanese earthquake have meant that Honda’s focus has been elsewhere in the world.
But with the delivery of the new engine, which will appear in the recently-launched CR-V next year as well, he believes the firm can stat knocking on doors again.
He added: ‘We still have great relationships with our customers, and we have a lot of firms who have previously run Hondas who we can now go back to with what we believe are market-leading products.’