Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Gallery : Honda Concerto TD

Diesel disadvantage

Honda Concerto TD (1)

THERE has always been a big gap in demand for diesel powered car between Japan and Europe. In countries such as Italy and France, diesel has long enjoyed a significant tax advantage over petrol, meaning that during times when crude oil prices were at their lowest, DERV was little more than half the price of petrol.

This means diesel powered cars have always proved very popular with European buyers. In Japan, the situation is entirely different, with almost zero demand for oil burners. The result of this has been that Japanese manufacturers have been very late joining the DERV game – thus denying themselves a huge chunk of the European market.

Thanks to its collaboration with Rover, Honda was in a favourable position to do something about the situation. The Concerto was built alongside the R8 at Longbridge, and as the British version of the car used PSA diesel engines, Honda could capitalise by selling its own version of the car…

And the quickest way of getting this model onto the market, was simply rebadging the Rover 218 as a Concerto… Which is exactly what happened.

The car was sold in France and Italy, and proved a useful addition to Honda’s model tange. It’s more Rover than Honda, and it doesn’t use the Concerto’s alternative lighting arrangements as detailed in the picture of the standard Concerto (below). So, the next time you’re in Europe, and you see an odd-looking Concerto with Rover lights on it – you’ll know exactly why.

The next European Honda/Rover diesel to appear was the Accord TD, which appeared during the mid-Nineties. Nestling under the bonnet, you’ll find the ubiquitous L-Series engine…

Honda Concerto TD (2)
Brochure scans by Andy Bannister

It's an R8... no, wait - there are Honda badges all over it!

It’s an R8… no, wait – there are Honda badges all over it!

This 1993 Concerto TD betrays its R8 heritage thanks to the use of the British car's rear lights, number plate panel and bumpers. In fact, this BRG example could almost pass for a Rover had it not been for the Concerto wheel trims it wears...

This 1993 Concerto TD betrays its R8 heritage thanks to the use of the British car’s rear lights, number plate panel and bumpers. In fact, this BRG example could almost pass for a Rover had it not been for the Concerto wheel trims it wears…

A closer look at the curious Honda/Rover hybrid...

A closer look at the curious Honda/Rover hybrid…

The Concerto's unique lights, bumpers and wheels are very evident in this shot...

The Concerto’s unique lights, bumpers and wheels are very evident in this shot…

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

11 Comments on "Gallery : Honda Concerto TD"

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  1. Hilton Davis says:

    Very interesting, I never heard this before… this must have been “badge engineering” at its most basic – rather than putting the TD engine in a genuine Concerto body! You learn a lot at AROnline!

  2. delwin parris says:

    u all sell parts for these cars?

  3. rik says:

    do u need parts for these cars? if so what u need? i have sheds full of spares

  4. Hilton D says:

    Was just thinking, was the quality control protocol at Longbridge the same standards for building Concerto’s as it was for R8’s?

  5. Will M says:

    Puzzles me why they didn’t put the XUD into the Concerto? They’re on the same assembly line.
    Or even swap round the bumpers etc?

    @2 – Engine parts are XUD as per most 90s Peugeots, Citroens, Corolla diesel etc.
    Other parts are Rover R8

    • Neil H says:

      @Will M, possibly fitting the XUD into the Concerto shell would have needed a new Type Approval, while re-badging didn’t. Thus by keeping the Rover lights, bonnet, bumpers they could use River’s Type Approval, and save the expense.

  6. Ben Adams says:

    In the early 90s Honda were not interested in diesel at all, Japan even banned diesel powered cars that weren’t fitted with purifiers from Tokyo in 1999. Mainland Europe however loved diesels, I believe the Honda Concerto TD was a toe-in-the-water exercise to see if it sold. It did and this is probably why Rover allowed its excellent L Series to be fitted to the Accord.

  7. MM says:

    The USA has little interest in the diesel car, Honda making great inroads into the USA from the 1970s, with the Civic at the expense of Ford / GM.

    That is where Honda made their mark, the largest car market in the world.

    Stand up comedians made jokes about Fiat and VW, in the same vein as Skoda used to attract. Look at how our mainstream names fared in that killing arena, Renault (Americam Motors) and Fix It Again Tonio

  8. Phil Simpson says:

    Prefer the Concerto’s bumpers. Like every other Ronda, I prefer everything else about the Rover.

  9. Ian Elliott says:

    This item reminds us of the era when cars looked neat and crisp – and you could see out of them in all directions!
    Here’s a provocative statement : Honda’s European sales have slid ever since they lost the restraining influence of Rover’s Design Department. Discuss.

  10. Philip Rushworth says:

    @5 – The Concerto’s bonnet line dips in the centre, unlike the Rover’s which is higher – would this have prevented fitting a bulkier(?) diesel under the Honda’s bonnet? Perhaps that consideration influenced the original styling: if Honda had no need originally to accommodate a diesel engine then they were free to go for a lower bonnet-line . . .

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