Mazda’s recent partnership with Toyota to produce EVs at a new plant in Alabama is just that — a partnership. Masahiro Moro, Mazda North America Operations president and CEO, told a crowd that Mazda plans to remain an independent automaker for foreseeable future.
Moro, the company’s top executive discussed Mazda’s future during the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. He also noted that while electric vehicles and fuel cells are important, Mazda believes it can squeeze substantially more fuel savings from its internal combustion engine during the next decade.
The automaker does not have an EV or even a hybrid in its U.S. line-up, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named Mazda as the most fuel-efficient brand in the industry five years in a row, Moro noted.
“This is pure ICE engineering and this is the Mazda way. It is only going to get better as we (incorporate) these other technologies in the coming years,” Moto added in the text of presentation.
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“It is the time to go even further. As society progresses. Mazda must as well, ” he added.
Thus, as part of the company’s Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 strategy, Mazda aims to address the need to reduce carbon dioxide for a cleaner earth, eliminate traffic accidents through smart technology and while continuing to make cars that continue to make cars that brighten people’s lives.
Mazda will achieve this through the dedication of our engineers and designers, developing the safest vehicles on the road and we well do so with a Mazda exclusive engine technology called Skyactiv-X, Moro said.
“(W)ith the breakthroughs in our Skyactiv-X engine, Mazda will deliver a car to market in 2019 with this technology. We expect to see fuel savings of another 20% to 30% with Skyactiv-X over our already industry-leading engines,” Moro said.
Moro said that industry predictions of the death of the internal combustion engine are premature.
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“We believe in the freedom provided by a personal car.” Moro said. “Before any company goes to the time, effort and expense of adding electrification, we are convinced that our industry must maximize the ICE,” he said.
Moro said the partnership with Toyota, which has kicked off the construction of a new assembly plant in northern Alabama, will provide Mazda with greater production capabilities.
“Additionally, our two companies will jointly work on electric vehicles and vehicle system,” he said. “However, despite the technology partnership, Mazda intends to remain an independent company. We are driven to make cars and SUVs our way, focusing on making driving better.”
Moro said an essential part of rebuilding Mazda’s brand during the past decade was to create unique technology and products. Mazda also became more innovative in the way it sold new vehicles, he said.
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While Mazda has only 2% of the global market share, its products are sold in more than 130 countries through more than 5,000 dealerships. In addition, more of the customers remain loyal to the brand: 41% compared with only 27%, 10 years ago, he said.