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Mazda Remains Committed to Bringing Diesel to US

Maker undaunted VW problems and falling diesel sales.

by on May.31, 2016

Mazda scrapped plans to bring a diesel-powered Mazda6 to U.S. shores a few months before VW's diesel scandal broke.

While the timetable has not been established and remains in flux, Mazda remains committed to putting a diesel-powered vehicle on the road in the U.S.

Mazda last year quietly delayed plans for a diesel-powered version of the Mazda6 months before Volkswagen was forced to disclose that it had cheated on key emission tests for vehicles sold in the United States equipped with diesel engines. The fallout from cheating scandal has been casting a cloud over diesel engines in light-duty vehicles.

Diesel News!

However, Jeremy Barnes, Mazda director of communications, told TheDetroitBureau.com that Mazda remains committed to introducing a diesel-powered vehicle to the U.S. market. The diesel remains under development, but the timing of the introduction has not been set yet, he said. “We’re still going to have a diesel,” he said.

The Diesel Technology Forum, the primary advocate for diesel power, acknowledged that while diesel engines have accounted for 3% of the market, the figure will drop in 2016 since Volkswagen AG was forced to pull it diesel-powered light vehicles from the U.S.

VW wasn’t the only company with diesel engine issues and reduced sales of light vehicles. General Motors also suspended sales of its diesel-powered Chevrolet Cruze even as it made diesel engines available on the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

(Major investor jumps on bandwagon suing VW over diesel scandal. For more, Click Here.)

Mazda just introduced its new 2016 Mazda CX-9. Could a diesel version be part of the maker's future?

In the longer run, however, DTF and Honeywell, which makes the turbos used in many turbodiesel engines, believe several factors will lead the sector to not just regain but double its previous market share.

Allen Schaeffer, DTF executive director, said recently that new federal fuel efficiency standards requiring higher vehicle mileage will be a significant boost for clean diesel vehicles, which have about 30% better fuel efficiency than gasoline vehicles. Schaeffer also noted that new diesel technology has helped diesel pickup trucks break the 30 mpg highway mark that will be key to reaching the new federal efficiency standards.

“Diesel is an important strategy for meeting future efficiency and fuel economy requirements for most major automotive manufacturers,” Schaeffer said during a recent appearance in New York.

(Click Here for details from TDB’s First Drive in the Mazda CX-9.)

The overwhelming majority of U.S. and international auto makers have expressed support for diesel vehicles in the worldwide markets. In the next year, Schaeffer said, there could be up to 24 new diesel vehicles introduced in the U.S. including five new diesel cars, 12 SUVs and seven pickup trucks.

“We’re not going to change our strategy, Jaguar Land Rover North America President Joseph Eberhardt noted during a visit to Detroit after the Volkswagen scandal became headline news.

“You have to deal with the situation as it arises,” added Eberhardt, adding even before Volkswagen was discovered to have cheated on emission required by the U.S. Clean Air Act, diesel fuel was more expensive than gasoline.

(To see why Mazda expects new CX-9 to maintain brand’s sales momentum, Click Here.)

Eberhardt said that diesel engines are critical to Jaguar Land Rover ongoing effort to meet future fuel economy standards in the U.S. Every Jaguar Land Rover vehicle sold U.S., with the exception of the sporty F-Type, will have a diesel-powered variant by the end of 2017, he said.

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One Response to “Mazda Remains Committed to Bringing Diesel to US”

  1. Paul says:

    Of course the emission and mileage test standards by which car companies must meet must be government administered. Further I would think marketing wise companies should wait until public opinion improves on diesel cars. Right now it seems as if VAG has ruined or seriously damaged the publics perception of diesel cars.