Nearly two years after the maker had originally hoped to begin offering a diesel version of its SkyActiv engine system in the U.S., Mazda Motor Co. is getting close to making a final go/no-go decision, senior executives said during a luncheon meeting in Detroit.
In the wake of the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, Mazda planners are concerned about future demand for the high-mileage technology. Ironically, a Japanese version of Mazda’s SkyActiv-D powertrain has proven far more successful than expected, diesels now accounting for more than 70% of the maker’s home market sales.
The question is whether the emissions scandal has damaged the German maker’s image or diesel’s image, said Robert Davis, Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations for Mazda North America. “We think the damage is to Volkswagen, but we’re still deciding” whether there’s enough demand for Mazda to finally launch a U.S. diesel.