India Auto News: Honda CR-V and Mitsubishi Outlander facing tough times- Here is why

I always find it interesting how different parts of the world have such different market demands and sometimes seeing what is available elsewhere leaves me wanting (diesel CRV!)....
The next big launch of the year will the 2012 Honda CR-V. The SUV that will also debut in India and is what most Honda fans in the country will be waiting with bated breath. Honda has already revealed the car although, just a single picture has been released by the auto maker, most of the exterior details a clearly visible. It is still not clear though if the car would seat seven or five. Anyway, the hot news of the day came in the form of engine specifications that were leaked ahead of the SUVs official unveiling.

Mitsubishi Outlander and Honda CR-V

The new Honda CR-V will get next generation engines which Honda term as K24 and K25. The K24 engine is a 2.4 litre 16 valve DOHC petrol that puts out 175 bhp of maximum power and 170 lb-ft of torque. That leaves us with the K25 which most of you might have guessed is a 2.5 litre 16 valve DOHC with 201 bhp @ 6000 rpm and 177 lb-ft pr torque. Both engines will be coupled to a 5-speed automatic gearbox.

That is all about the technical tit-bits. Of course, the Indian version of the 2012 Honda CR-V is expected to get a diesel engine. There is also a buzz going about the toys that will be offered inside the new car. The new SUV could get a rear seat entertainment package along with a DVD player. Now, what all would make it into the Indian version isn’t actually clear. One thing that the new Honda CR-V could benefit with apart from a diesel engine is seating for seven.

The Honda CR-V will rival the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Chevrolet Captiva and the recently launched Renault Koleos among others. A seven seat configuration will give it an advantage over its rivals. A diesel engine was always missed on the CR-V and now we could get one given the popularity of oil burners among Indians. Until now, apart from the popular Honda, the two other SUVs that came with a petrol engine were the Mitsubishi Outlander and the BMW X1.

Now, sales of petrol cars has slumped in recent times. In fact, neither Mitsubishi nor Honda is clocking descent volumes of the their products. Mitsubishi sold just 32 units of the Outlander last month while Honda sold just 26 units. Compare these figures with their diesel powered rivals and the picture becomes clear. The biggest player in this segment, Toyota has been doing extremely well with the Fortuner. The company sold close to 900 units of the Fortuner in the month of August.

The only factor to blame for the dismal sales of the CR-V and the Outlander is the absence of a diesel engine. This might change with the 2012 Honda CR-V coming by. A 2.2 litre i-CTDI engine seems to be the most probable. The 4-cylinder diesel engine puts out 140 bhp and 251 lb-ft of torque. With Honda introducing a diesel CR-V, Mitsubishi will have get its act together quickly before the CR-V runs away with its market share.

At present, a 2.4 litre 170 bhp petrol engine powers the Mitsubishi Outlander. A petrol SUV, in the current scenario isn’t viable even for those who can afford to own one. 80 percent of the sales of the more expensive BMW X1 consists of the diesel sDrive20d version. This shows that even the people who can afford a premium crossover like the BMW X1 are feeling the pinch of the petrol price hike.

Coming back to the 2012 Honda CR-V, some reports suggest that the new SUV might get seven seats given the larger proportions of the car. If this is true then, the CR-V does stand a fair chance to take on the might of the Toyota Fortuner which has been selling like hot cakes. The new CR-V is expected to make its international debut at the Los Angeles motor in December.