Honda Took The Wrong D-D-D-Direction With The CR-V In India

Faisal Ali Khan
by Faisal Ali Khan
honda took the wrong d d d direction with the cr v in india

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, a website covering the automobile industry of India.

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7 of 24 comments
  • Kyree Kyree on Feb 25, 2013

    I'll tell you that the lack of a diesel CR-V in India isn't out of stubbornness. Either the bean-counters have determined that it isn't worth the development costs--because diesel-quality truly *does* vary between regions--or they're just not interested. Either way, I'm sure they'd oblige if they wanted to.

    • Faisal Ali Khan Faisal Ali Khan on Feb 26, 2013

      Kyree, all cars in that segment are powered by diesel and there are atleast 5 of them.

  • Beerboy12 Beerboy12 on Feb 25, 2013

    As far as I know Honda has resisted Diesels all together. I believe they only made their first one a few years ago. That philosophy was completely un-notised in the US and treated with indifference or mild supprise in the rest of the world. I did not realize that India was a "diesel" market but it makes sense that Honda would struggle there.

    • See 3 previous
    • PCP PCP on Mar 13, 2013

      @spreadsheet monkey That certainly doesn't account to me, then. 200'000km, first clutch, no major problems and still running strong. No measurable oil consumption (I change it myself, every 25'000+km only!). And the dealerships I talked to all reported the same. Only problems were a cloaked up EGR valve and a loose nut - on the high pressure diesel pump drive shaft, though. No damage, but quite some work to change the shaft.

  • Tassos 25 years old, 200k miles, $12,000 devalued worthless Biden Dollars?Hard pass.
  • GrumpyOldMan Lost me at the last word of the second paragraph.
  • Bobbysirhan I suppose this explains why almost everything that makes a GM product function has been Chinese for several years now.
  • Kevin 35 grand if a 2 door but not a 4 door!
  • Kevin 35 grand USD for a 57 wagon that still needs lots of work such as spindles body work and what ever else maybe 25 but 35 no thanks I'll stick with what I have. Floor pans replaced and whatever else my 68 chevelle I paid $4800.00 USD 20 years ago and is all original.