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Mazda Not Ready to Abandon US Diesel Market – Yet

Diesels now 70% of Mazda’s Japanese sales mix.

by on Jul.12, 2016

Almost 80% of Japanese buyers order the new Mazda2 with a SkyActiv-D engine.

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.

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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.


Mazda Again Delaying U.S. Diesel Launch

Performance not up to snuff, maker hints.

by on Jan.10, 2014

Mazda's SkyActive-D diesel has plenty of diesel for its racing program, but apparently not enough for a production model.

When Mazda unveiled its SkyActiv technology a few years back, the maker boasted that its gasoline-powered SkyActiv-G technology would deliver the fuel economy of a diesel. But it also promised that it would soon add a SkyActiv diesel that would yield the mileage of a hybrid.

Sadly, it seems, we’re going to have to wait a bit longer to put the SkyActiv-D to the test, Mazda announcing yet another delay in bringing the new diesel engine to market.

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That’s a big disappointment to oil-burner fans, especially with Mazda slated to become the first Japanese manufacturer to offer a modern diesel at a time when a growing number of European and even U.S. makers are reentering the segment.


Mazda Previews SEMA Concepts

But mum’s the word when it comes to details.

by on Oct.29, 2013

Mazda sources have slipped over images of a handful of concepts coming to the SEMA Show.

We’ve been receiving plenty of preview material on the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the annual aftermarket extravaganza likely to see 100 or more custom concepts from the major automakers – and even a few new production vehicles with Honda, notably, planning to unveil its updated 2014 Civic line.

But considering Mazda’s propensity for creative design we were excited to receive a packet of four images that, sources said, revealed the four concepts that will land on the Japanese maker’s SEMA stand.

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Unfortunately, our leaker reversed the normal course, providing pics with nary a word of what they reveal beyond differentiating between the Mazda3 and Mazda6 SEMA specials.

What’s to make of what we have in hand?  Well, to start with, one might note that after downplay its “zoom-zoom” tagline for a couple years, Mazda has begun replaying that familiar theme in its latest advertising.  No surprise.  (more…)

Mazda Diesel Delayed 6 Months

Engine needs more time for “testing and certification.”

by on Sep.13, 2013

The diesel version of the new Mazda6 is expected to top 45 mpg.

Mazda and diesel fans alike are in for a disappointment. The maker has confirmed it is pushing back by about six months the planned introduction of its new Mazda6 SkyActiv-D model as it completes “testing and certification” of what had been on tap to become the only diesel powertrain offered by a Japanese automaker on a model sold in the U.S.

After decades on the backburner, diesel power has begun to gain ground rapidly in the U.S. market, and even with the delay, the total number of vehicles equipped with the technology is expected to double during the 2014 model-year, according to various analysts.

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“The on-sale date for Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D clean-diesel has been moved to late-Spring 2014, to accommodate final emissions testing and certification,” said Mazda in a statement e-mailed to The maker said, however, that it is “pleased with the ongoing development” and that more information “will be available closer to the on-sale date.”

The news will not have any impact on Mazda’s diesel-powered race campaign, and the motor sports program has been scoring some impressive podium appearances – a significant success for a program based around an all-new engine.


Mazda SkyActiv Diesel’s Trial By Fire

A tankful of chicken guts?

by on Jan.24, 2013

Mazda's new diesel racer will get its first trial by fire at Daytona this weekend.

Mazda hopes ride a tankful of chicken guts, beef tallow and pork lard to victory at the grueling Rolex 24 endurance race in Daytona over the coming weekend.

No, the maker isn’t sponsored by the local butcher.  It’s powering its new Mazda6 race car with a custom-made fuel blend that starts out with scraps from Tyson Foods. That organic glop has been converted into a special bio-fuel that will stoke the new SkyActiv-D clean diesel engine that will power Mazda’s entry into the new Grand-Am GX Class at the 24-hour race.

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“It’s meat packing residue,” explains John Doonan, the director of Mazda’s ambitious motorsports operation.  And the ultimate blend is so clean the Mazda6 race car won’t need particulate filters or any of the other devices used on other diesel-powered race cars.


Mazda Taking SkyActiv Diesel to the Track

Maker hoping to win on Sunday, sell on Monday.

by on Jun.04, 2012

With its 2-stage turbo, the Mazda SkyActiv-D race engine should make about 400 hp.

Mazda is hoping that old motor sports adage, “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday,” still holds.  Aware it will have plenty of convincing to do when it launches its new SkyActiv diesel next year the maker plans to turn to motor sports to get its message across.

A beefed-up version of the production SkyActiv-D, as in diesel, making somewhere around 400 horsepower will make its debut in the months ahead as part of the 2013 Grand Am GX Class.  The new GX series has been designed specifically to spotlight advanced and clean engine technologies.

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“We’re hoping this will help (showcase) diesel attributes for those people who hadn’t considered them before,” explained John Doonan, Mazda North America’s Director of Motorsports.

It’s not the first time Mazda has taken to the track with non-traditional powertrain technology.  It was the first Japanese automaker to win at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans, in fact, using its trademark rotary engines – which still run in a number of race circuits today, even though Mazda will soon pull the Wankel rotary from production.


First Drive: Mazda Skyactiv

Can Mazda deliver hybrid mileage without the hybrid?

by on Aug.12, 2011

The new Mazda CX-5 crossover will be the maker's first vehicle developed specifically to use the new Skyactiv system, though the Skyactiv powertrain will appear first on the 2012 Mazda3 update.

“We are a very small company,” says Kyoshi Fujiwara – again.  It’s a mantra repeated over and over by the Japanese engineer who has become something of the chief cook and bottle washer for Mazda’s ambitious Skyactiv project.

The far-reaching effort could be the make-it-or-break it for, yes, this very small company, which has largely severed its ties with Detroit giant Ford Motor Co.  Long known for going its own way with unusual technology – think Wankel rotary engine – Mazda is doing it again with Skyactiv, a system that it claims can deliver the fuel efficiency of a hybrid without the performance and price penalties.

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Early next year, Mazda will introduce the new Skyactiv-G gasoline engine on the updated Mazda3 sedan.  But the technology isn’t limited to just a new petrol powertrain, ala Ford’s EcoBoost.  With Skyactiv, Mazda claims to have re-thought the entire vehicle, coming up with both gasoline and diesel engines, advanced manual and automatic transmissions and lighter-weight platforms that further enhance its drive for improved fuel economy without sacrificing the company’s familiar zoom-zoom qualities. recently got a chance to take an in-depth look at the Skyactiv system and files this report.