The Honda CR-V might be a major success in Europe and America, but in India, it performs very poorly, selling in double digit numbers every month. Since the time of launch, Honda has sold 13,739 units of the CR-V in India. Honda launched the CR-V here ten years ago in 2003, and it still isn’t in the groove. India is d-d-d-diesel dominated, and SUVs and crossovers better be diesel or they are d-d-d-destined for d-d-doom. BMW recently launched its facelifted X1 in India, offering it with a diesel engine only. Yes, heresy, d-d-dat’s right.
Fuel prices have headed northwards in the past few years, and the shift towards diesel cars started in 2007, when many companies brought in modern diesel engines to the country. While all car makers were busy churning out diesel powered cars, Honda was adamant, saying their diesel engines won’t work with Indian fuel quality. Their market share d-d-d-dropped d-d-d-d-drastically. Now finally they are accepting the shift in d-d-d-demand. Honda brings diesel powered small cars to India. But still no diesel CR-V.
Honda has instead chosen to offer 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre petrol engines on the CR-V in India. Honda already sells the CR-V in Europe with a 1.6-litre diesel engine. However they don’t plan to bring it to India, blaming diesel quality. What this has resulted in, is poor sales for a very capable car. Indians have never heard of the SsangYong brand earlier. Mahindra (the new owners of this Korean company) launched the Rexton W in India. And guess what? The Rexton sells ten times more than the CR-V, simply because its armed with a diesel engine. When will Honda learn?
Faisal Ali Khan is the editor of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the automobile industry of India.