Mitsubishi Motors Corporation on Thursday said it would bring forward the introduction of a next-generation two-litre diesel engine in Europe where demand for such engines is growing.

Currently under development, the new diesel engine will now go into production at the Kyoto powertrain plant in early 2009, one year earlier than scheduled and, following its introduction in Europe, will be phased into other markets.

Developed jointly with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the new engine is a key element in the automaker's efforts to lower CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Features contributing to the new engine's claimed class-topping power output and Euro 5 emissions-compliant performance include a new high-efficiency turbocharger and high-efficiency combustion characteristics using in-house technology.

The new diesel engine and electric vehicle technology are core elements of the 'Mitsubishi Motors Environment Initiative Program 2010' (EIP 2010 and the automaker said bringing forward the market introduction of the diesel engine would allow it "to meet the needs of the growing number of environment-conscious customers".

Mitsubishi Motors Europe currently uses Volkswagen diesel engines in some passenger car models it sells in Europe and will soon add a PSA diesel to its Outlander crossover range.