The Nikkei that Honda Motor Co. will delay its introduction of advanced diesel cars into the US and Japan until 2010 at the earliest because of difficulties keeping prices down. The company was originally targeting the introductions for next year.
Seeing medium- and long-term growth in diesel cars, Honda had hoped to lower prices of such vehicles closer to those of gasoline-powered models. But even though prices of platinum and other precious metals used as catalysts have plunged, its diesel models are still expected to cost around 500,000 yen [US$5,100] more. The automaker is therefore rushing to develop catalytic technology that uses much less platinum.
On top of that, the price gap between the fuels that power these cars, diesel and gasoline, has narrowed, making diesel cars seem less economical than before.