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Mazda Reveals Plans for High-Mileage Powertrains

Japanese maker also sets price on pint-size 2011 Mazda2.

by on Mar.31, 2010

Better mileage, better performance, Mazda hopes new powertrains like the Sky-D diesel will help it cut global fuel consumption 30%.

With a goal of boosting its global fuel economy 30% by mid-decade, Mazda is under pressure to deliver – and fast.  And that prompted the Japanese maker to pull the wraps off its new line-up of advanced powertrains, dubbed Sky – “which means the sky’s the limit,” said CEO Takashi Yamanouchi.

These were first revealed last year at the Tokyo Motor Show in the Kiyora concept car.

A gasoline version, dubbed Sky-G, will be the first of the new engines to reach the U.S. market, the executive announced, during a news conference at the New York International Auto Show.  Though Yamanouchi was reluctant to provide many details, he hinted it would reduce fuel consumption 15%, even while delivering an equivalent, 15% boost in performance.

The Sky-G will make its world debut in the U.S. market, in 2011 – most likely in a mid-size model like the Mazda6.

A year later, it’s to be followed by the launch of the Sky-D, a new, high-efficiency diesel that Yamanouchi said would reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared to Mazda’s current, 2.2-liter diesel.  Perhaps as significant is the plan to introduce the Sky-D to the U.S.

Mazda appears to be favoring basic work on combustion efficiency, lightweight materials, and low friction engines and transmissions, while other companies, including now minority shareholder Ford, are pursuing more expensive forced induction designs with one or more turbochargers, or expensive plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles with $10,000 -$20,000 battery packs. (See Mazda Simplifies, as Ford Complicates for a more detail analysis.)