Clean diesel cars: Japanese OEMs plan launch in Japan and Europe

Mazda, Subaru and Honda to introduce their first diesel cars in Japanese market



 "Clean diesel cars" refer to vehicles powered by diesel engines (DE) that meet the emissions standards put into force in 2009 and thereafter (P-NLT = Post-New Long-Term Regulations in Japan, Euro 5 in Europe, Tier II Bin 5 in the United States).

 Compared to the European markets where DE cars account for 50 percent of passenger car sales, Japanese markets only have a very low percentage, less than 1 percent in 2011, due to a number of reasons: decreasing DE makes resulting from tighter regulations, consumers' image of DE cars being environmentally hazardous, and the high prices. However, the consumers are beginning to praise their fuel efficiencies amid the recent progress in clean emissions technologies.

 In February 2012, Mazda launched its first clean diesel cars in the Japanese market while Subaru and Honda have plans to launch their DE cars. As a new emission standard, Euro 6, being introduced in Europe in 2014 will be equivalent to Japan's P-NLT, European automakers have plans to launch new DE cars in the Japanese market.

 Many Japanese automakers have been selling DE cars in Europe. Recently, the introduction of tighter regulations on fuel efficiency is accelerating the engine downsizing in Europe, resulting in a growing demand for smaller diesel engines. Japanese automakers are also required to sell a broader variety of DE cars in order to increase vehicle sales in Europe. Launch plans for Europe among Japanese automakers include the newly-developed 1.6-liter DE cars by Honda and the 1.4-liter DE cars by Mazda. Toyota is launching DE cars powered by 1.6-/2.0-liter DE supplied by BMW while Suzuki is launching cars powered by Fiat-'s 1.6-liter DE.

Related Reports: Mazda's innovative SKYACTIV and new manufacturing technology (April 2012)

Exhaust emission standards in Japan, Europe, and the US

Japan Europe US
Post-New Long-term
Euro 5 Euro 6 Tier II Bin 5
PM (g/km) 0.005 0.005 0.005 0.0062
NOx (g/km) 0.08 0.18 0.08 0.0435
Enforcement October 2009 September 2009 September 2014 2009MY

Source: JAMA and others

Sales of diesel passenger cars in Japan

2010 2011 Jan.-Mar.
  Mazda 3,101
Mitsubishi 1,140 2,187 669
Nissan 5,706 4,870 1,578
Other Japanese OEMs 9 8 3
Imports 2,890 2,007 633
Diesel passenger cars 9,745 9,072 5,984
All passenger cars 2,927,602 2,386,036 984,625
Ratio of diesel passenger cars 0.3% 0.4% 0.6%

Source: Automobile Registration Statistics (Japan Automobile Dealers Association) (Passenger cars do not include mini vehicles.)