Rising fuel prices have prompted customers to move to diesel cars lately and this is evident from the number of units being sold these days. In fact, Volkswagen who do have a diesel engine for the Vento have been topping the sales charts. The Honda City was the undisputed king of the premium mid-sized segment until now. The lack of a diesel engine has hit Honda so bad that the Vento has now taken over. The Japanese automaker makes a 2.2 litre iDTEC engine for Europe. This won’t be feasible for the Honda City in India though. Honda will have to develop an all new engine with a capacity of 1.4 litre-1.6 litre. Honda say, they have already commenced the development of a diesel engine in Japan for the City. But this will take time as Honda have had to start from scratch with the development of this one. Expect Honda to come up with a new diesel engine by the year 2013-14. Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice-president (sales & marketing), HSCI, told Business Standard: “We are developing a diesel engine in Japan to power City. It could take us more than two years.” The sudden shift towards diesels caught the Honda management off guard and this shows in the amount of time the company needs to launch a diesel engine in the market. “The rapid dieselisation of the market has happened only in the last one year, as the price difference between diesel and petrol has gone up from Rs 10 to Rs 21. We had to prioritise our efforts to be a big brand with big volumes, which will come from Brio,” Sen said. Some say, that Honda was counting on the Brio small car but, the recent natural events in Japan have delayed the car. Very unfortunate for a car company that is known for its reliability and an excellent product line-up all over the world. Until Honda launch the City with a diesel engine, the VW Vento would continue to rule the segment, unless of course, the Verna or the Fiesta take over. Volkswagen sold 3,973 units of Vento in March, as compared to City’s 2,773 units. The Honda City had ruled the segment for over a decade and importing a diesel does not seem to be a viable option for the company, according to Sen. Hyundai has already launched the Verna and Ford will soon be coming up with the Fiesta which will have a diesel engine option as well.