Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) revealed that diesel car sales fell by 17.1% last year, down to 1,065,879 units from 1,285,188 in 2016.
The SMMT has attributed this decline to “anti-diesel messages” from the Government.
However, Hodgetts has said that diesel is still expected to make up close to 40% of all Civic sales in the UK, even though consumers have shied away from the fuel.
“We’ve really done well with the petrol Civic and, to be fair, we’ve really taken some ex-diesel customers back across to petrol,” he said.
“But there’s still a market for diesel, so the Civic diesel will really help us get overall Civic sales up.
“We will aim roughly for that sector average, which is not far short of 40% of diesel. That means going slightly more to the corporate sector than it does for our petrol mix.
“But we’ve done pretty well this year with both retail and corporate, and our overall sales have held up pretty well, despite the issue with diesel."
Referring to the “anti-diesel” messages from the Government, Hodgetts said there was a need for the discussion to be “based on the facts”.
He explained: “We need to balance the debate about the overall situation. As we know, diesels are particularly good for certain driving environments and long-distance drivers, while petrol may well be better in some urban environments.