I think the German and French focus on Diesels sadly shows how parochial they are in mindset.
There is only one market in the world where Diesels cars are a big player, thats Europe. Those car makers that are highly dependent on that single market have to produce good Diesels. Those that aren't reliant on that market tend to see Diesels as an afterthought, hence why Japanese and American based makers tend not to have a strong Diesel line-up. The problem with investing so much money on Diesels is that Europe as a market is becoming less and less important, this trend will only continue as India also emerges as a big car market so the return on investment will only keep falling.
Now look at the biggest car markets in the world, the US and China. Both countries are currently highly dependent on imported oil and are keen to reduce consumption in order to reduce reliance on the Middle East and improve trade balances. Neither country is interested in Diesel cars. Does the Japanese focus on hybrid petrol cars seem gimmicky when you start thinking that their products tick a lot of boxes for both markets to the extent that the American right wing proclaim the Toyota Prius as the American patriot's car of choice?
Also have you heard of fuel cell technology? If so perhaps you might want to find out where Honda stands in this field....
Noone invests in F1 for greater exposure in China, they have shown over the past decade that they are barely aware that such a sport exists at all. Unfortunately for Honda the fact that they are Japanese is likely to dictate how sales in China go more than any advertising campaign or the quality of their products.
Diesel "in EU" is a transitional medium from gas to something else, and that something else is yet to be defined as "final" answer to gasoline powered cars. To identify EU as a "single market for diesel" is very strange point of view but so be it; this is not a forum for discussing that. Some choose hybrids (which is a terrible solution), others went for more painless, and still effective and proven way how to cross that bridge. You are mentioning Toyota - well, good advertising is performing miracles, that's what I see, but my view unfortunately remains unchanged about that technology. Canada and US have "dirty" diesel, which is slowly changing, maybe not fast enough, and some layers of energy sector and businesses made sure it stays that way.
I am not sure if I touched nerve about Honda with you, but I am not attacking Honda research at all, but admitting that I have no idea these days what it is they are researching. Fuel cell is being researched more than just Honda. Mercedes-Benz Canada launched small investment in automated fuel cell production and technology development facility in Canada. (Ford Motor and Nissan have joined). Is that where is world heading? I am not sure, but fight for supremacy in automotive technologies continues, as it should. It is good for all of us. Fuel cell meanwhile made inroads to smaller markets (forklifts in factories, and similar), but that is not what we are discussing here, I think.
Noone invests in F1 for greater brand recognition? That will be news to boys in Stuttgart then, I assure you. Can you explain why Infinity went into all that trouble and wants their name on RB car? In US they have saying: race on Sunday, sell on Monday; ever heard of it? I am not expert in that field, but shift of focus by Japan on Asia has been dully noted some time ago, and now we are watching how it is done.
Edited by Sakae, 22 June 2013 - 16:04.