By on January 9, 2014

skyactiv-d_main_ttl_ovr

Mazda is delaying the launch of the North American-spec SKYACTIV-D diesel engine, as engineers grapple with getting the engine to meet both emissions and performance benchmarks in North American spec.

A report by Automotive News suggests that Mazda is struggling with getting the diesel mill to where they want it without the inclusion of an exhaust after-treatment system. AN‘s Ryan Beene spoke with Mazda PR head Jeremy Barnes, who offered an explanation for the series of delays

“There are challenges with meeting the emissions standards without after-treatment systems,” Barnes said. “We believed our Skyactiv technology can meet it — and it can — but the challenge is engineering a car that delivers the kind of performance that a Mazda needs to have and we’re unable to do that given where we are right now.”

AN reports that in addition to forgoing an after-treatment system, Mazda is investigating alternatives including a urea based after-treatment, or a special catalyst to reduce nitrous oxide emissions.

Mazda has also had other issues with the SKYACTIV-D motor, involving diesel fuel leaking into the oil sump which could lead to a clogged Diesel Particulate Filter. The only real fix for the issue so far has been a modified dipstick and a request for owners to vigilantly monitor oil consumption. In America, where diesel engines are a rather unknown quantity in passenger cars and deferred maintenance is the order of the day for many motorists, this would likely be an unacceptable solution.

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127 Comments on “Mazda Delays Diesel Again...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Low volume automakers should get exemptions, whose with me?

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Definitely, but there’s the matter of defining “low volume”. Mazda is small. Ferrari is low volume.

      • 0 avatar
        1998redwagon

        and what is to keep manufacturers from setting up straw companies that would cater to a small portion of the marketplace just to avoid “needless” regulations?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Good question. There is a way to allow for small volume marques while still preventing “anything goes” sort of product. I say pick a year and enforce that regulation on the “exempted” party. So in my view whatever the emissions standards were in 2000, that’s what the smaller parties have to meet in compliance. After all, do standards really need to change every few years it seems like an exercise devised by bureaucrats justifying their existence.

          • 0 avatar
            drewtam

            Another way to do it is to certify whatever emissions level is documented, and then put a surcharge multiplied by that value.

            So a 10g/kwhr NOx engine would be 10*X = ~$1000/engine.

            The more volume that engine family picks up, the more incentive to invest the capital to reduce the surcharge and recoup the price or reduce the price.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Hate to break it to you people but the D ain’t coming ever. I said this when Mazda first announced the 6 diesel for the US model but it wouldn’t be released as the same time as the gas model. I never took their promise of a diesel 6 seriously simply because of the terrific mileage of the gas model. The gas 6 provides such great mileage that a motor with a 2-3k premium AND 30-50 cent per gallon fillup premium would never make sense. For tiny Mazda it looked like a cheaper RnD alternative for great mpg vs developing a hybrid drivetrain but the more they tried to get a diesel to fit the cost and performance demands of US consumers it makes less sense. In 4 months I GUARANTEE you’ll hear the D engine isn’t coming ever.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      You’re probably right. Is there anyone who makes a US-compliant diesel and avoids the use of urea? Cummins gave up after a couple of years with their 6.7 liter 6-cylinder. Navistar gave up.

      I think the idea of the low compression ratio (for a diesel) was to reduce combustion temperatures, which reduces NOx formation . . . but that probably reduces efficiency as well.

      Seems like the best that you could expect of this engine is not so much dramatic mileage gains as compared to the gasoline engines, but higher torque and lower rpms which make them more “driveable” especially with automatic transmissions.

      • 0 avatar
        TCragg

        Volkswagen, with the Golf, Jetta, and Bettle TDI. The larger Passats have urea-based aftertreatment, but the smaller cars get away without it.

        • 0 avatar
          Carrera

          It will stop very soon for the Golf and Jetta. The new models will all have urea.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheatridger

            Nothing wrong with that, I’d say. What’s harder and more costly: adding a can of SynthPiss to the tank, of replacing a complex emissions component that might not have been needed? I don’t see how this trivial maintenance issue is such a bugaboo. Toilet training issues, and our qualms about the word “urea?”

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      You may be right, but it will really hurt Mazda to NOT bring it over.

      There is a lot of anticipation for this engine; without it, Mazda has nothing special to offer.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I dispute that they have nothing special to offer on mainstream cars. They have class leading/competitive fuel economy, styling and driving dynamics. They will hopefully offer a Speed3 which could be special along with the new MX5.

        • 0 avatar
          3800FAN

          I hate to say it but class leading fuel economy is really all the 6 offers and the accord matches it. In terms of style, ugly…driving dynamics.. that’s a very low priority for midize buyers. A comfortable in-control ride is what they care about more. Size, most cramped interior in the class (minus the avenger/200). A diesel would steal passatt tdi buyers away but how much is debatable. Mazda should look at the 1st 2nd generations to see why generation 1 six was double the sales of gen 2. Answer? Body styles. Gen 1 had a sedan, hatchback, and wagon. Together they combined to double the sales of the 2nd generation.
          Mazda’s marketing also sucks. zoom zoom has been their motto for over 10 years now and it’s done them no good. Anyone remember their pre-zoom zoom marketing slogans?
          I donno I’ve always felt like the 6 is a car trying to appeal to a crowd that only buys the 3…it’s not gonna win and mazda should carve out a more conservative style path with the 6 while keeping it’s sporty driving dynamics. Maybe that’s why the altima has been so successful while the 6 has languished.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            The 6 has a 2mpg highway fuel economy advantage over the Accord (without i-Eloop which makes the gap 4mpg). All without needing to use a CVT.
            Everyone has their own opinion on styling but you are the first I have heard to call the 6 ugly. Most think it is either the best or second best in the class for styling.
            I agree driving dynamics are not a top concern for the typical mid-size buyer. So.
            As for being cramped, I thought it was spacious enough so that, being 6’1″ I could sit behind myself. Cubic capacity (100cu ft) is comparable to most. The Accord is a very good car and I would have a hard time determining between a Accord Sport and a 6 Touring.
            I agree about the bodystyles, but as they are a niche player they made a sensible business decision to offer the sedan bodystyle (by far the most popular style in the US for this class of car).

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        A couple of guys on the internet who claim to love diesels does not equate to “high expectations.”

        Mazda is basically invisible. Competition is fierce, and the dealer network is small; it’s easier to buy a rival than to deal with the lack of support.

        And the last thing that the dealers need is another variation that gathers dust on the lot while requiring tech training in the service department.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          I believe it’s more than a couple of guys on the internet who are waiting for this engine. A third guy – my coworker – has been following this engine’s progress, only to be disappointed twice now. He will probably shop elsewhere.

          You’re right about Mazda’s invisibility. Their sales have been flat since at least 2002, never rising above 2% US market share. The diesel would at least be an interesting feature in their newest car, and it would provide a mid-priced alternative to the VW deathgrip on the US diesel market.

          • 0 avatar
            3800FAN

            Reply to ur last reply…2 mpg ammountd to didlysquat in the 30 mpg range. Were not talking full size trucks here. A savings of 130/year isn’t gonna be a deciding factor for anyone.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    bring back checker motors!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I hope you don’t mean their 1980-82 350 V-8 “diesel” engines by Oldsmobile. Those engines may have helped kill Checker. They didn’t do much for Oldsmobile either.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    Unfortunately this probably will materialize right around the time the Odyssey diesel shows up that Honda had promised.

    Forget tinkering with that, Mazda. Just federalize the 6 wagon and make dozens of gearheads happy :)

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Id buy a 6 Wagon in a heartbeat. It is a sexy beast. Even if it was auto only. As it stands, I will probably be the owner of a 2014 Touring 6MT in the next 30 days. It will be the least powerful car (by around a hundred ponies) I have owned in close to a decade, but I believe it is an incredible value for the money. My consolation prize for giving up acceleration will be a low sticker, low fuel consumption, a 6MT (which are increasingly rare), and a drop dead gorgeous body. Not to mention the satisfaction of owning something rather unique as I will undoubtedly run into very few of them in the Detroit area.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Mazdas used to be much more common in the Detroit area. I’m sure the Ford/Mazda divorce hurt some of the Mazda stores around here. A few of them have gone from stand alone to sharing floor space with Nissan, Hyundai, or VW.

        Plenty of Ford employees bought 6s before the Fusion came out as well as the Protege and 3 while the Focus became stale.

        • 0 avatar
          thegamper

          Yeah, when Ford employees and family could get A-x plan, Mazdas were pretty common in detroit, especially 6′s built in flat rock. Since ford divested its mazda shares and mazda moved production back to japan the 2014 is a unicorn by comparison. I think I’ve seen a total of 4 of them on the road.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Getting the right power delivery and fuel economy blend will be crucial for getting this engine option a foothold in the US market. They only get one shot at this so better delay it than get wrong and face the wrath of consumers and the automotive press.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    “Mazda is struggling with getting the diesel mill to where they want it without the inclusion of an exhaust after-treatment system.”

    Which was actually the intention of the regs in the first place, to keep diesels from being a viable alternative by making them harder and more expensive to bring over. You see, truck fleets and all the other diesel users don’t want to see additional demand for diesel, which would increase their prices.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The EPA has never shown any hesitation before screwing industries and interests a lot larger than commercial trucking. That their radical, extremely expensive campaign against diesels is actually to protect fuel costs for existing diesel users defies credibility.

      The aftertreatment systems commercial operators are required to use now are every bit as complex, expensive, and failure prone as those in the consumer market.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        No way.
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/epa-moves-to-regulate-new-wood-stoves/2014/01/03/b08cb232-7484-11e3-8b3f-b1666705ca3b_story.html

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Actually, the after treatment systems added to commercial class 8 trucks since 2003 cost about as much as a Mazda 3; nearly $20k per truck. The have also greatly increased maintenance costs, roadside failures, and overall complexity.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Bingo Npaladin. You nailed it.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      “You see, truck fleets and all the other diesel users don’t want to see additional demand for diesel, which would increase their prices.”

      No. Refiners export tens of thousands of barrels of diesel every day. There is a surplus of diesel in this country. Additional demand would reduce the exports, not drive up the cost.

      http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=m_epoordb_eex_nus-z00_mbbld&f=m

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Europeans need ULSD — they can’t refine enough of it — and there are few markets outside of the EU that produce fuel at that standard. The US is one of those places.

        If the US was bitten by Dieselmania! then Europeans would end up paying for it, literally.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          US USLD is not down too the 110ppm level of that Europeans use. US Diesel exports are for shipping, Earthmoving equipment etc. US Diesel crude is very rough stuff indeed.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Pch101
            The US is exporting diesel for a couple of reasons to Sth America, Eurozone and even Africa.

            The EU is still exporting significant quantities of gasoline into the US. This will slowly diminish as the EU isn’t as competitive in producing these fuels.

            It is more expensive to produce petroleum products in the EU due to stricter environmental regulations.

            My biggest gripe concerning the ULSD in the US is that the actual diesel quality in the US is lower than other nations. This isn’t necessary as the US is producing vast quantities of diesel for the EU.

            US diesel standards is again another trade barrier. Irrespective of what you say the Mazda Skyactive has to be built to operate on the lower cetane value US diesel. It doesn’t matter if the US is selling 10ppm EU diesel at the pump, the Skyactive has to be designed to run on a lower cetane diesel.

            The lower cetane has given Mazda some technical problems to overcome. A lower cetane diesel makes it harder to operate and manage a low compression diesel.

            Lower cetane diesel increases emissions.

            The US should harmonise its diesel fuel standards to what the rest of its major trading partners use and what it is currently producing.

            This will stop the ridiculous issues like this Skyactive engine not meeting US EPA targets.

            If the EPA was serious about diesel emissions it would increase it’s cetane rating.

            But it will not do this, as it this would increase competition with US manufactured vehicles.

            Trade barriers.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            @Pch101, Dartman had it right. The US is producing more CRUDE oil than it imports. Your EIA statistical projections are for ALL petroleum products, including refined fuels.

            You should be wary of EIA projections. They’ve been consistently wrong about Bakken crude production for the last three years, largely because they don’t have a handle on the latest developments in shale, using the minimum output obtained from the earliest, crudest fracking methods.

            Some people connected with EIA have been appraised of the more advanced, multi-stage fracking methods now in use, but the EIA has been slow to to acknowledge the new data, much less employ it in their projections. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a political component involved.

            Until they update their estimates of shale production potential using the latest fracking methods, their projections will fall further behind actual production as the much richer Eagle Ford shale formation is developed.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “U.S. refineries are now shipping record amounts of gasoline and diesel”

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/08/u-s-oil-exports-have-been-banned-for-40-years-is-it-time-for-that-to-change/

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Lorenzo
            The IEA must gain it’s data from Christine Lagarde at the IMF.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            ” Dartman had it right. The US is producing more CRUDE oil than it imports.”

            No, he didn’t. And no, it doesn’t.

            You’re entitled to your opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

            The US is a net importer of oil. It is expected that the US will remain a net importer of oil. Instead of reading right-wing blogs to get your (dis)information, you could simply look at the trade data and learn the definition of “net importer.”

            Look at the numbers. Notice that the net import figure is above zero, which means that we’re importing more than we’re shipping out.

            http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTNTUS2&f=M

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Pch101
          I think you’ll find it isn’t so clear cut.

          North Sea oil is being refined into gasoline for the US market and is imported into the US in rather large quantities.

          The US diesel that is exported to the European’s come from a few refineries around Texas and Louisiana coast. They are capable of refining diesel to meet EU standards.

          I might be incorrect, but I even think this Gulf Coast diesel is blended into Euro refined diesel.

          US diesel is a lower quality and is different than Euro diesel and has a higher scar rate, 50% more sulphur, lower cetane rating, etc.

          All the US has to do is improve it’s diesel fuel quality and then it will be easier for the manufacturers to release some great diesel vehicles onto your market.

          But, US regulatory framework favours gasoline over diesel. This can be shown by the many ‘diesel’ unfriendly regulations.

          I did read an interesting article regarding the Skyactive diesel and the problems Mazda is encountering to meet the US market. The biggest problem is to get the engine to work on the lower US quality diesel.

          I’ll try and dig up the article.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Big Al from Oz,
            Thanks for that, I knew US refineries could only get it down to a 115ppm, still too high for European engines.I DID NOT KNOW they were exporting North Sea derived petroleum to the US.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @RobertRyan
            US diesel is 15ppm sulphur content.

          • 0 avatar
            Onus

            15ppm is the limit. Who says the diesel they are producing at the limit and not less. Clearly it is exported at this standard. Hell even Russians export 10ppm sulfur diesel and the local standards only call for 500ppm and that is only a recent thing.

            IIRC i know there is a guy on here who calls you out on this every time.

            The 40 centane sucks believe me. But, that is purely a standards issue and not a problem with refineries. A little additive to your diesel or b20 solves this problem real fast.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Onus
            I tried to find an article I read last year regarding the issue confronting the Skyactive diesel.

            The emissions issue is directly related to the diesel used in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Onus
            The US is going to become the world’s largest refiner of ULSD. It bend’s my mind why the US can’t have the same standard of diesel as the countries it supply’s.

            The US isn’t allowed to export crude, but it can export refined petroleum products.

            Distillates (heating oil, AVTUR, diesel or gasoil, etc) are becoming a large export product for the US. The shale oil boom will eventually reduce the importation of gasoline from the EU.

            Also, another factor driving the US exports of distillates to the EU is the lower environmental standards for refiners in the US vs the EU. The EU is also using more and more diesel.

            The US refiners are finding it more profitable to sell distillates to the EU than sell in the US, hence the higher diesel price in the US, taxation isn’t the only driver forcing up US diesel prices.

            It will be an interesting 5-10 years in the petro industry and you can see the fallout already in the Middle East.

            Energy is a very political tool. Even OPEC tried to flex it’s muscles in the ‘olden’ days. Now the US will start to influence.

            The EU is finding it hard to produce petroleum products competitively.

          • 0 avatar
            dartman

            Since 2012 the US exports more gasoline than it imports. Beginning this year the US is producing more crude oil than it is importing. Estimates are that the US will be totally energy independent by 2020 if we choose to be. Until the formation of OPEC in 1960 and the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 the Texas Railroad Commission effectively controlled and set the world price of crude oil. Thanks to American ingenuity the US oil industry is creating wealth and high paying jobs for Americans.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Beginning this year the US is producing more crude oil than it is importing.”

            This is nowhere close to being accurate. Is this what they’re telling you on Fox News?

            The EIA is projecting that 28% of US oil consumption will be imported in 2014. This is expected to decline to 25% between 2016 and 2019, and then increase back to 32% by 2040.

            http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/images/figure_12es-lg.png

            You need to understand oil statistics prior to (mis)quoting them. If a US refiner imports crude, then exports refined diesel to Europe or South America, that doesn’t do anything to reduce US dependency on foreign oil.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “15ppm is the limit. Who says the diesel they are producing at the limit and not less.”

            Trying to explain factual matters to the Aussie Disinformation Express is a complete waste of time.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            “Trying to explain factual matters to the PCH101 is a complete waste of time.”

            Especially when it is obvious he does not have a clue and is fabricating the information that he does post.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Pch101
            Regardless of what is delivered at the diesel pumps in the US, Mazda still has to develop an engine to run on low cetane diesel.

            Read up on how diesel cetane levels affect emissions, etc on low compression diesels like this Skyactive.

            Because every other diesel pump in the US might sell Euro quality diesel doesn’t mean Mazda will design the same as the Euro Skyactive engine. It must be designed to conform to US standards of 40 cetane.

            I think you really have to stop with your twist on information. Look at your comments regarding technique used by car yards and apply them to yourself.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Where is the advantage to slow acceleration and paying .80 more per gallon?

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Well Norm, not everyone likes to drive turbo Saabs that get 50 mpg :). Some people like the feel of a diesel instant torque along with the 55 mpg which this Mazda was rumored to get on hwy.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        So you think it’ll be ~10+ better than the Cruze diesel? My Verano 2.0T 6MT does mid 40′s at 60 mph…on 18″ wheels…235mm width rubber.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I thought you were the SAAB guy. You really do seem to have a faulty mpg calculator, unless you are just going down hill all the time!

          On fuelly the average mg for the Verano (mostly non-turbo) was 26mpg. Respectable but not mid 40′s.

          http://www.fuelly.com/car/buick/verano

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            Turbo Veranos get 23 mpg.

            In real life.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m not sure whether Norm is a troll or just really bad with weights and measures.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            Quoting instantaneous steady-speed mpg readings is never very useful.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that’s the way I likes it! – Grandpa Simpson

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            I once drove my car down to empty from a full tank… Then only filled it back up with 5 gallons..

            BOOM!!! 63 MPG!

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            The Verano 2.0T 6MT did seen 37 mpg @ 70 mph cruise controlled for 1,000 miles in hilly northern Pennsylvania. Temperatures were right at 30F and fuel economy was hand calculated. Actually seeing the highest point on I-80 east of Mississippi River.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It’s funny. My car’s instant MPG read-out will report at times that I’m getting 200 mpg. Yet I’ll be damned that I haven’t once been able to get 3,000 miles out of a tank of fuel.

          • 0 avatar

            What do you drive?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            My car is apparently some sort of magical transport device that even Norm can’t possibly beat, but it carries four rings on the front.

            In any case, I’m sure that I really am getting 200 mpg at certain points for a few seconds at a time. But yet it averages out to be far less than that, of course.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    oh FFS, just do like everybody else and say that “market research” has shown that it’s not economically viable.

    I’d love to see more diesels but Mazda doesn’t have the cash and I don’t see much ROI here.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      They are being more honest and giving a technical answer rather than a PR answer saying “market research”.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        I do respect that, but I think it’s just wasting money at this point. When their own 4-bangers are getting 40MPG with respectable performance, the bar is raised at just how many empeegees the Sky-D would have to achieve to bring any value proposition… higher car price, higher fuel costs, versus fuel efficiency.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I agree – especially since the price premium for diesel is >50c per gallon. I understand the performance advantages (I owned a 2001 Seat Ibiza TDI back in the day). But the market is limited – which may not be a problem for Mazda since an extra 1000 sales a month would be a reasonable % for them.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I big failure at introduction could cripple such a small company like Mazda. Their problem is that they set too many lofty goals for the SKY-Active diesel engine. They wanted to be innovators like the big boys, but they don’t have the big boys’ muscle and power. Mercedes introduced the 7 speed auto transmission back in 2004 or even earlier, when 5 speed auto was a big deal. Of course, the first years 7 speed trannys sucked but Mercedes had big muscles…

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      Likewise, I would never buy any first-generation turbodiesel before it had several years of reliability data in service. TDI’s are complex and risky enough, but they’re the result of decades of experience.

      Low gas prices are the biggest enemines of diesel cars. Usually, Diesel fuel prices are displayed at stations along with Regular gas. That exaggerates the current diesel price penalty. My last car choice was: TDI, or GTI?
      Both were turbos, and the gas engine requires Premium fuel. Comparing that price to Diesel, the TDI savings almost vanish. The added expense of the timing belt change that the TDI would need someday would wipe out two years of fuel savings. That, plus low used-car prices, made the GTI my sensible choice.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Meh, over the past five years, all of the following car companies offered, promised, or strongly hinted that they’d offer a diesel in the next 1-2 years for passenger cars:

    VW and Mercedes (already offered, still do)
    Honda (promised)
    Subaru (promised)
    Mazda (hinted)
    Nissan (hinted)

    Current hybrids and DI engines being what they are, and US diesel fuel prices often at-or-above premiums gas, the market is all but dead for passenger diesel. It doesn’t help that Europe has been abandoning them, which in turn reduces the market for diesel innovation; and that the US regulations severely limit the ways in which manufacturers can cheapy/feasibly offer diesel here.

    The iron was hot, very few struck, and now it just seems like wishful thinking.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Well, it doesn’t help that the EPA constantly keep moving the goal posts for diesels either. I am not so sure that Europe Is abandoning diesels. In most countries, even with the diesel price being on par, or higher than gas ( for many years diesel was taxed a little lower) they are very strong still. Hybrids never caught on in Europe and they probably never will. They actually don’t understand why we Americans are so fixated with them.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      As well as diesel options in:

      Audi, BMW, Jeep, and Chevrolet (already offered, still do)
      Ram (1500 already at Job 1, just weeks away from retail)
      Nissan (Cummins option promised in upcoming Titan)

      I lump the 1/2-ton pickups into passenger cars due to the type of usage with the majority of drivers and due to it being considered a brand-new market segment.

      • 0 avatar
        ash78

        True, although I rarely see a diesel pickup that isn’t pretty obviously being used for a work truck. But fair statement.

        I lumped Audi in with VW, although they (like BMW) dragged their feet way too long on introducing it here, even when it was ready. They were too concerned with luxury image.

        Jeep was a fluke for a while (the VM engine in the Liberty that sold maybe 5,000 units/year? And was still a fuel hog.) but I’m please to see they’re keeping it up.

        I was a huge fan and proponent of diesel for many years (now I’m neutral), but I can’t fault the manufacturers for dragging their feet in today’s environment. If the current crop of diesels could have been ready during the 2008 gas price crunch, they’d almomst all be riding a nice wave of success today.

        • 0 avatar
          EquipmentJunkie

          Ash78, I originally felt the same way about the Jeeps…until I looked harder at the numbers and learned more about them. The Liberty CRD got better than 30% better fuel economy than the gasser. While I initially thought that the VM’s fuel economy was lousy, I learned that the Liberty was over 4,000-lbs. On top of that, customers often reported real fuel economy numbers over EPA ratings (just like VW TDI owners)

          The 5,000 sales number for the diesel option on the Liberty was self-imposed from the beginning. They had to ship those US-spec engines to Toledo from Italy and didn’t want any more lying around than they needed. Their market research was actually too conservative since Jeep sold every one. Even now, diesel Liberty’s deliver strong resale today largely due to low supply and high demand.

          A similar conservative sales approach was taken with the Grand Cherokee and the V6 Mercedes diesel. All 5,000 were sold. Then the whole thing blew up with Mercedes and Cerberus transition.

          I believe that Chrysler’s decision to move forward rather aggressively with the Ram 1500 diesel is due to two successes with the Jeeps. I have yet to see engine allotment numbers in print for this VM V6 diesel in the Ram. That tells me that the diesel option take rates are expected to be well over 5K.

          I have personally purchased more diesel cars and trucks than gassers in my life…both new & used. However, my circumstances have changed and my trips and annual travel is not enough to keep diesels happy. That being said, I still prefer the way diesels drive.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        True they are used as “passenger cars” primarily in the US. Still they use Asian sourced Pickups here more as work vehicles due to their payloads and towing capabilities.Still a lot are used as “passenger cars” as well, although the bulk of them use diesel engines.

    • 0 avatar
      Buckshot

      “Europe has been abandoning them”
      Einstein talking?
      Last year we(Sweden) had the highest % dieselpowered cars ever. 67% of all new cars sold were diesels.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      I keep seeing this “Subaru promised me a diesel!” bit, but yet to find a quote from anyone at Subaru substantiating this. Source?

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Unless it needs to be in a truck capable of pulling gobs of weight, with the new generation of gasoline engines, diesel make no sense. Especially when you consider the headaches of these after treatment system, and take it from somebody who works on diesel vehicles everyday, they have problems.

    Going to hang onto my 06′ CRD Jeep as long as possible. Such a better engine without the garbage added on. Maybe one day the makers will be able to get these after-treatment systems off the vehicles, which is more likely than the government ever coming to it’s senses, but until then, a diesel engine now is the equivalent to a late 80′s gasoline engine with 3 catalytic converters and a smog pump.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      This engine was supposed to be available in the CX 5 as well. It would have made a lot more sense there than in the Mazda 6. The diesel CX 5 would have been an instant hit. I sure hope they fix the problem. I like Mazda to succeed.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        “The diesel CX 5 would have been an instant hit.”

        CUVs have become so incredibly popular because people want vehicles that drive like cars even if they don’t look like cars. A diesel doesn’t improve the car-ness of anything.

        Look at Mercedes. The diesel GLK is both cheaper and more fuel efficient than the gasoline version. They have the same options list and the same color palette.

        Diesel fanatics buy the diesel and everyone else buys the gasoline model. Why would you assume that the CX-5 would be any different? Will they sell more of them? Yes, a small amount more. Does that count as an instant hit? No, it doesn’t.

        • 0 avatar
          Carrera

          The GLK is not much cheaper if any than the 350 Chicago dude. Also, Mercedes is a mostly leasing kind of brand. When you turn a car back in to the dealer after 18-24 months who cares about long term longevity or mpg. Not too many people. Also, the GLK has only been out for 6-7 months. Most people don’t know it exists. Also, I think the GLK is more of a ladies car ( nothing wrong with that) but I am not sure the 24-40 year old professional women who buy the GLK like to drive diesels.
          I don’t know…I just don’t think it is a valid comparison, but there are too many one can make.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          It really is odd how so many among us who like unpopular cars feel the need to blame their unpopularity on some sort of conspiracy or regulation, instead of what it really is: a lack of interest.

          Europeans turned to diesel because it has been taxed less heavily than gasoline, due to the interests of the trucking industry.

          Ironically, diesels tend to do less well in places where they **aren’t** propped up by regulations. Since there is no tax advantage for diesels in the US, they aren’t popular.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            PCH101 – exactly right. I accept that my desire to see more wagons (to replace my 2006 Legacy wagon) will not come about because most people disagree with me. I can understand why CUV’s are gaining in popularity, even if it offends some “purists”.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Pch101,
            Incorrect. much better mileage and the ability of diesel cars to tow more, something they do a lot in Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @mike978,
            We are having a resurgence in wagons in although there ar a lot of SUV’s/CUV’s sold.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Robert – I am coming around to the view that the CUV will replace the wagon. When I came to the US 8 years ago, I looked at five wagons – Mazda 6, Passat, Saab 9-3, Volvo V50 and Subaru Legacy. None exist now.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            ” None exist now.” No that problem does not exist here.So I can see your choice will be limited to a CUV.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            mike

            Right now it’s the Outback and the Sportwagen if you want a non-premium wagon. Those two and the Cadillac are the only ones to offer a manual transmission as well (haven’t checked if it’s still on the Subie actually.)

            I’ve written about this before but I think we’re in the middle of an image shift on wagons. Enthusiasts are loving and talking about them, and they are currently being bought by an affluent demographic where they exist in the market. Baller status imminent.

            The difference now is that regulations have been written that specifically favor CUV’s making the switch back much more difficult for manufacturers. The CAFE light truck category is a sad joke written specifically, and only, for the big three for instance. It says a lot about our political process that it even exists given CAFE’s objective of lower fuel usage.

            CUV’s as a concept aren’t offensive, it’s how their customers choose them that is. They simply cannot handle maneuvers that a nearly identical wagon could stay composed through. What’s offensive as a car guy is telling someone that and having them buy the CUV anyway because it “feels” safer due to ride height. So why ask about safety at all? Ignorance can, in fact, kill you. Don’t forget to apologize to your family when someone swings the tall box into a tree, it’ll probably be your 17 year old kid. Sorry to rant rhetorical, this actually really pisses me off.

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Seems to me that there was supposed to be Mazda diesel several years ago which was pulled at the last minute because it didn’t meet emissions. Now this.

  • avatar
    George B

    As soon as the price of diesel fuel became higher than high octane gasoline, my interest in diesel engines faded considerably. The addition of the particulate filter and the added emissions control complexity to clean it ended my interest in new diesel passenger cars. However if I found an old Mercedes diesel in good condition…

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      If the fuel was cheaper than 87 like it used to be when I had my TDI, it would have the value proposition that it used to. I love the torque and I love the smell, but the true price paid per mile driven isn’t competitive with many of the 4-bangers out there now.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Mazda’s insistence on avoiding aftertreatment is the problem. This same intransigence is what powered their slavish commitment to the rotary engine for so long.

    Using aftertreatment isn’t the end of the world, and it isn’t expensive for the owner (unless you’re driving a Mercedes).

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It might have something to do with how expensive it is to add the equipment to the car, along with the added warranty costs. Of course there is some deterrent of added inconvenience to the customer. No matter how small it is, there’s a gas version right next to it on the lot that doesn’t need DEF refills.

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    I am starting to feel like Charley Brown when Lucy offers to hold the football and promises not to pull it away at the last minute.

  • avatar
    Short Bus

    I’m in the “don’t see the point” crowd. I’d rather see Mazda try to push the fuel economy envelope with a more traditional turbo engine and bill that as their top engine offering for the CX-5, 6, and 3.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Ford has shown that turbo charging doesn`t always lead to fuel economy gains – the 1.5 and 1.6 ecoboost engines compared to traditional NA engines demonstrate this.

      • 0 avatar
        Short Bus

        Sure, but that doesn’t mean that Mazda can’t try. The way I see it is if they can produce somewhere in the area of 250 hp and show a fair improvement over a traditional V-6 in terms of fuel economy, it’s a win. It doesn’t have to rival it’s naturally aspirated models for fuel economy, just show a nice balance of economy and performance.

  • avatar
    carve

    I used to be excited about diesels, but with the cost of diesel and the efficiency of todays gas engines, they just don’t make sense in cars.

    I ran the numbers on the Passat and, at 12,000 miles per year, you’re fuel cost is actually slightly HIGHER than the 1.8T at my local prices, and about $100/year less than the 2.5. Plus it’s less refined, more complex, tough in the cold, higer maintenaince, less-available fuel, less powerful, more expensive and probably heavier. About the only advantage is the low-end torque, and that’s just not worth everything else. In the US, they’re really only practical in big trucks and commercial vehicles that go through a LOT of fuel and have much greater efficiency under heavy loads.

    Instead, Mazda should focus their limited resources on gas engines. And put a turbo in the 6 and CX-5!

    Gasoline FTW
    +Lighter
    +Cheaper
    +More powerful
    +Less complex
    +Lower maintenaince
    +More available
    +Better in the cold
    +Easy to find fuel
    +Cheaper fuel
    +Smoother/quieter

    -Less low-end torque
    -Less fuel efficient, particularly under high loads

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      As well as what you have posted. It is a very different scenario in Europe does make a lot of sense for them, especially how they use vehicles.The pressure to use diesel varies from country to country and region to region.

      ” they’re really only practical in big trucks and commercial vehicles that go through a LOT of fuel and have much greater efficiency under heavy loads.”

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Think it has more to do with the regulatory environment (how fuel is taxed primarily) of Europe than how they use cars.

        • 0 avatar
          DC Bruce

          Actually, in the U.S. over-the-road diesel fuel is taxed more heavily per gallon than is gasoline, at least at the federal level. State taxes, I’m not so sure about. The difference does not account for all of the price difference between regular gasoline and diesel, but it does account for some of it.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @mkirk,
          It varies in Europe as well. Some countries are cheaper, some more expensive. The upshot is diesel no matter what the relative price , usage is going through the roof in Europe.

  • avatar
    myheadhertz

    A small diesel engine in a small car should be easy to engineer and cheap to produce. Oh wait, the government is involved. Never mind!

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      > A small diesel engine in a small car should be easy to engineer and cheap to produce. Oh wait, the government is involved. Never mind!

      Now that the rant is out of the way, its time for logic and reason:

      Diesels use high compression to ignite the fuel instead of an electric spark. Therefore by nature, high compression ratios are required. To achieve high compression ratios without the engine detonating requires stronger internal engine components (forged steel crankshafts, connecting rods, main bearings, etc.) which are more expensive to manufacture than gasoline engines.

      A diesel engine will be more expensive to engineer and manufacture than a gasoline engine regardless of whether the government is involved or not. That is, unless you want the company to cut corners in favor of profits by producing a diesel engine with the durability of a potato chip (see GM diesels of the 1980s).

      Based on your statement, I’m sure you’ll be the first in line to purchase one of those small diesel engines which are easy to engineer and cheap to produce. All I have to say to that is – rots o’ ruck.

      In life you usually get what you pay for.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Hey, look at the bright side. In just 24 years or so you’ll be able to import a Skyactiv diesel from overseas.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I’m glad Mazda seems to be pushing the envelope. No one else is lean burning their way with 14:1 compression and the associated technological development, and projecting 18:1 by 2018. I cannot get my head around all the permutations involved at such high ratios. I read somewhere they expect to have sparkless compression combustion a la diesel in a gasoline engine. That would completely erase my limited understanding of stoichiometry. Amazing. Too bad Smokey isn’t still around.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The biggest issue with high compression ratios is NOx emissions. If it weren’t for that, you’d see a lot more high compression gas engines. I’m not familiar enough with SKYACTIV to know exactly how they control the emissions to make it compliant, but it’s almost certainly expensive. We’re starting to see EGR coolers on gas engines now at some manufacturers for example.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Let’s just agree to take NOx out of the Federal Emissions Standards so we can get our power and efficiency too. California can get some ventilation installed for LA, or do whatever they want.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Here is some information on how I think the problem Mazda is confronting using US diesel and emissions is more directly related to the quality of US diesel.

    http://papers.sae.org/2004-01-2960/

    …………………………………………………………….

    Here is a cut and paste from a document concerning the effects of the significance of cetane ratings. I think Mazda running to low compression ratios is having difficulty with the low cetane rating of US fuel to meet emission requirements.

    Maybe Mazda should be honest tell it as it is. I also provided a link for this cut and paste.

    ” This quote underscores the importance of
    matching engine cetane requirements with fuel cetane
    number. Diesel fuels with cetane number lower than minimum
    engine requirements can cause rough engine operation. They
    are more difficult to start, especially in cold weather or at high
    altitudes. They accelerate lube oil sludge formation. Many
    low cetane fuels increase engine deposits resulting in more
    smoke, increased exhaust emissions and greater engine wear.
    Using fuels which meet engine operating requirements will
    improve cold starting, reduce smoke during start-up.
    Improves fuel economy, reduce exhaust emissions, improve
    engine durability and reduce noise and vibration. These
    engine fuel requirements are published in the operating
    manual for each specific engine or vehicle

    http://ijeit.com/vol%202/Issue%2010/IJEIT1412201304_36.pdf

  • avatar
    redav

    I didn’t read all the comments, but a point missed by most is that Mazda is not banking on this diesel’s mpg. It is the upgrade engine option for the 6, and it is supposed to be a direct replacement for the V6.

    They have banked their strategy on the diesel driving like a V8. They’ve designed the engine bay for only the I4. They haven’t done any work on a Skyactiv-G V6. If they don’t get this engine to market, they leave a significant hole in their lineup. Launching without the engine upgrade is like launching without a manual; it’s a minimum viable product. That’s ok for the short term, but it’s a problem for the long term.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      It is true, the Diesel engine was going to be their premium offering. I don’t think they are in too much of a jam since really Mazda is not such a big player in the mid size segment anyway. Personally, I think the 6 is a very good looking sedan…one of the best looking actually, but it will always be the mid size for the non-conformists out there. I think they are selling all the 6s they can make, but they aren’t really making that many. I was really looking for the diesel 6 and it was a vehicle on my very short list for potential future cars. If they don’t bring it by the summer, I am a afraid a big opportunity will be lost for them. I am sure VW brass is sleeping a little easier tonight. A good looking, reliable Japanese diesel sedan could be a nightmare from hell for VW.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I, too, was looking forward to it, but my driving isn’t right for it. But what I am really hoping for is the wagon. I know there are only a few of us, and I don’t blame them for not bringing it here.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Also, note how much they’ve spent in racing the diesel. They really need to turn that into sales.

  • avatar
    JD321

    No surprise…and emissions laws will only get worse until the ICE is regulated out of existence in passenger cars.

    I would guess that this diesel engine barely passes Euro6.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @JD321
      Diesel vehicles will have an easier time with EuroVI due to the different quality of diesel.

      The US needs to invest into new refineries.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Yeah, I am not going to hold my breath on new refineries Big Al. It also looks like refineries are going out of business like crazy in Europe. I read about it on Bloomberg. It seems that our refineries is putting theirs out of business.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Carrera
          The EU has stricter environmental regulations than the US, believe it or not.

          Even here in Australia oil refiners have been discussing off shoring our refining to SE Asia.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Just out of curiosity, what’s the take rate on the Cruze Diesel? I’ve seen exactly zero of them so far.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      I don’t think they are making that many diesels. It isn’t as simple as the regular Cruze. The engine is coming from Germany, the transmission from Japan. I commend GM for bringing a small diesel to USA but I think they put it in the wrong vehicle. This engine should have gone into the new Impala or in the small SUV twins ( Equinox and whatever GMC has). I often go the the Chevy Cruze Diesel forums and so far no problems ( well, some dealer incompetence here and there about the kind of oil it takes). The diesel only comes in the top of the line LTZ version and it is pretty loaded.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      For the partial sales year Cruze diesel sold more than Audi Q5 and VW Beetle diesels.

      http://www.hybridcars.com/december-2013-dashboard/

  • avatar
    ajla

    The Mazda diesel will be available here right around the time that Alfa comes back to the US and Lincoln gets a $70K flagship.

  • avatar

    Diesel prices are more varied than gas, for reasons I can’t figure out, but most of my diesel is the price of midgrade…if it is more than premium go elsewhere.

    The CUV segment, or the minivan segment, would do better. Why Audi brings in A6, etc but no A4 is beyond me, but it may be all about the leasing.

    TDI has no urea injection.

    I’ve noticed the diesel advantage is that in hard driving you don’t have mileage fall off huge like a gas engine. The other advantage is that the torque gets you off the line fast, so city driving is easy.

    In a larger car, the mileage advantages are better…with small cars, less so. Still, the TDI is the car my family fights over in the morning…I get the old 3 as a consolation prize :)

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @speedlaw
      US diesel price at the bowser is impacted by supply and demand and taxation.

      The US refiners are finding it more profitable to export diesel than to sell ‘locally’ in the US.

      This has driven up the wholesale price of diesel.

      If the US had similar regulations as it’s major trading partners, diesel powered vehicles would be more attractive in the US.

      You wouldn’t have issues like this Skyactive engine. It’s sort of ridiculous to state that US standards are better. They are different like many of it’s vehicle standards to reduce external competition.

  • avatar
    old blue

    the problem is not small volume but poor design

    the diesels in Australia have been having terrible problems

    http://forum.mazda6club.com/mazda-6-3rd-generation-2013-present/264345-2014-mazda6-diesel-serious-problems.html

    reports:

    Wow, people are cancelling their orders out in Europe and Australia for the SkyActive Diesel due to the problems of diesel fuel overfilling the crankcase.

    Mazda’s response to this is that the owner MUST check their dipstick level every 600 miles or Mazda will void the warranty if and when the engine seizes.

    So Mazda is basically putting the owner on notice that if they don’t check their dipstick oil levels every 600 miles, they are not performing proper maintenance and if the crankcase gets sucked dry or overfilled with diesel fuel, your engine will fail and Mazda will not cover it under warranty:

    http://www.derwan.com/download/MazdaDieselCare.jpg

    Mazda is also calling for oil changes every 2,000km or 1,200 miles:


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