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…
Brochure scans by Andy Bannister