Mazda Goes Green
Hot on the heels of the launch of their new 67-horse 1.4-litre diesel Mazda 2 (something about that doesn't sound right), the triple-Zoom meisters have announced their intention to go green. Mazda says they'll spend a good part of the next two years fitting their cars with hybrid engines and stop/start technology (presumably nothing to do with the key or brakes). As What Car? points out, Mazda has already shown its commitment to the environment by building and leasing the Japan-only RX-8 Hydrogen RE, which runs on either high-pressure hydrogen or gas. Does this mean the brand will stray from maximum-bang-for-the-buck? The same What Car? article reveals Mazda engineers' fanatical efforts to reduce the Mazda 2's weight to increase efficiency and (we hope) performance. So there is hope.
Technically, it's not a single-number name. The name of, say, my Mazda 6 is actually "Mazda6", with the number squeezed together with the name, the idea supposedly being that people would remember the brand name better than, say, Mazda 626. From my perspective as a Mazda fan, all I can tell the marketeers is that if you make a Great Little Car, people will find out who makes it when they want to buy it. Screwing the intentions of the marketeers I just call my car the "6" and my friend's Mazda3 the "3". We know what car we have. No one has any pretensions of driving Bimmers. As for Pontiac, they should go talk to Alan Mulally. "Grand Prix" says "Pontiac" better than G8.
I think Mazda can use hybrid systems and still maintain their sporting character and relative pricing by sharing Ford's hybrid system. Instead of calibrating the hybrid system for maximum fuel economy, they can use a different control scheme to maximize performance.
That just betrays the point of a hybrid, doesn't it?
Nah ... it would still be a bit more efficient than a gas only car, if only for the regenerative braking & whatnot.