As they continue to sell CR-V vehicles, with larger engines, their logic seems deficient. Not that I would call the 1.5 a big engine. How do Jaguar/RR/Land Rover cope? They only sell gargantuan vehicles of fuel guzzling character. Honda UK can be pathetic, IMHO. Mind you, they probably plan to bring the Rs in to the UK in August, but want to keep the punters in the dark. Well they won't sell the asthmatic 1.3 to this household!
Unfortunately for Honda, the EU is a major market for them and the EU seems to be convinced they can single handedly save the planet with ever more stringent emission regs.
Now, the easy answer is to go for smaller turbocharged engines, lots of power and you keep your fleet averages for emission in check. Honda however are institutionally against turbos, they have always regarded them as 'crude', compared to their engineering excellence with VTEC that gets you mahoosive power without turbos.
How can other makers get away with keeping making gas guzzlers? People like Vauxhall, VW etc shift lots of very fuel efficient small engines city cars that drag down their fleet averages. The obvious answer for Honda is to import their JDM 0.7-1.2 litre city cars but they won't. So, the only way Honda can 'win' in Europe and keep it's big engines for CRV's, Accords and Legends, models that make lots of money is a key market point is by shipping lots of hybrids, keeping the Jaz as a small engined city runabout and dumping the full on sports models.
The last two decades of Honda dealerships in the UK being a dazzling display of fast and very furious sports models is now alas going to be just a memory as we all line up to save the planet by EU edict.
Still winds me up though seeing Type R's and 1.5 Jazz's being built for export outside the EU in Swindon.