By on June 22, 2016

2015 Mazda3 Australia, Image: Mazda

A diesel version of the Mazda3 is dead in Australia, reports CarAdvice, leaving just the gasoline-powered version of Mazda’s compact on the market.

The removal of the diesel model comes ahead of a mid-cycle refresh that will bring Mazda’s hatchback and sedan inline visually with the refreshed Mazda6 and CX-5, and the new CX-9.

A number of circumstances played into Mazda’s decision to discontinue the compression-ignition option.

Karla Leach, Mazda Australia senior manager of public relations told CarAdvice that Mazda was always sceptical of how a diesel model would fare.

“When we launched it there were questions about diesel, but because of the low uptake we have decided to delete it from the range,” Leach said.

Adding insult to injury, the Mazda3 diesel was costlier than its petrol-powered siblings, likely having a negative effect on sales.

Mazda Australia will continue to market the Mazda6 sedan and wagon powered by the same 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D engine as the now-cancelled Mazda3 diesel.

In North America, Mazda is sticking to its guns when it comes to a forthcoming Mazda6 diesel, even as other automakers effort to make their diesel vehicles compliant to U.S. emissions regulations.

Mazda remains committed to bringing diesel to the United States. We do not have specific timing that we can announce,” Mazda USA representative Jacob Brown told TTAC.

Mazda USA is struggling in a booming market with sales down 9.6 percent so far this year. Overall sales for the brand plunged 17 percent in the first quarter of 2016 before rising in April and falling again in May.

Resident pocket-protector wearer Timothy Cain recently came up with a number of reasons why Mazda isn’t selling many cars amid the boom times. Chances are adding a diesel wouldn’t help matters.

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49 Comments on “Mazda3 Diesel Death Down Under Puts Another Nail in North American Diesel Coffin...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Ok so is the picture upside down as a joke about “down under” or is it just a mistake?

  • avatar
    THE_F0nz

    I would like to be one of the first to comment. Using a provocative statement that is devoid of intelligent thought.

    Then I would like you to read my name (an advertisement for my youtube page) and hope you think my antics are funny enough to direct your clicks my way.

  • avatar
    THE_F0nz

    On a more serious note, I actually delayed my 2013 vehicle purchase until I test drove the “near-ready” diesel CX-5. I eventually gave up and moved on. I’m glad I didn’t wait…

    There was a bunch of hype on that diesel skyactiv. I would have loved to drive it.

    Any international viewers have any experiences to share on Mazda’s newer diesel cars?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Mark,
    Doesn’t the Mazda 6 run the 2.2 SkyActive diesel and not the 2.2 Duratorq that used in the BT50?

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Considering the efficiency improvements that have been made on spark ignition engines, and also considering the cost of emission controls and the loss of efficiency they impose on diesel engines, I wonder how much longer we’re going to see diesels in light vehicles. I wouldn’t be sorry to see them go.

    Here in the US, compressed natural gas is going to start giving diesel some competition in the medium truck market as well. I’d expect the same in other parts of the world where natural gas is plentiful.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      FormerFF,
      Only with the handouts given will natural gas even be considered. Have you seen the size of the storage vessels?

      So, you must tow a trailer for your energy. Buses are different, they are mainly subisidised anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        It’s used here in transit buses and local use medium trucks, such as waste haulers and parcel delivery vehicles. UPS and Waste Management are two of the bigger adopters of CNG trucks. UPS recently bought 800 CNG Class 8 heavy tractors for their fleet.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Big Al,

        I just vacationed in Russia, natural gas filling stations are plentiful, the fuel is about half the cost of gasoline (ie $1/gal instead of $2/gal), and the conversions are done to all sorts of vehicles at reasonable cost (about $1000). In my friend’s Camry, the natural gas tank is installed in the spare tire compartment inside the bottom of the trunk, and gives a range of about 500km. The regular gas tank and fuel injection is of course retained, allowing for insane range and you don’t have to freak out if there isn’t a natural gas station nearby. All in all it struck me as incredibly reasonable and practical. Running on natural gas, power is slightly reduced, but it burns very clean, leading to longer oil change intervals and a happier engine in general.

        I think the looser regulation on installation and fewer safety concerns in general is what allows these systems to blossom out there.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @gtemnykh
          Used to be a flourishing industry here for Utes and Taxi’s, but now diesel and hybrids ( for taxis) have replaced it

        • 0 avatar
          Spike_in_Brisbane

          I think you are confusing Compressed natural gas (CNG) with Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) which fits all the benefits you quoted here in Australia. Both Ford and Holden make factory option LPG powered cars, the Ford is even more powerful than the petrol version. Sadly both of these local cars will disappear very soon.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          Also, NG is common as graffiti in Brazil.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      As sad as it is to say it, I don’t think light duty diesel engines are going to be around much longer.

      With what VW chose to do along with the continued difficulty in cleaning up diesel exhaust cost effectively along with the recent efficiency gains in gas engines (and the lack of strict particulate limits on DI gas engines), I think diesel will soon be done for cars.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    ˙ʃnɟʇɥƃıʃǝp ǝɹnʇɔıd ǝɥʇ punoɟ I

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I have yet to see a Mazda 3 diesel. They are actually quite a big seller in our market.

    It seems most little cars don’t run diesel, overall here. So, contrary to how many perceive our market being a diesel market it isn’t so.

    Diesel and petrol vehicles are more or less treated equally with no sway given either way. This goes from fuel taxes (more or less). To emissions. No country of manufacture is given preference, ie, France (diesel bias) vs USA (gasoline bias). You go to France, diesel vehicles are/were given a “special hand”. The same goes in the US gasoline vehicles (esp. large vehicles, ie SUVs/pickups) are given special status.

    So, diesels are common in heavier, mid size vehicles. Basically CUVs/SUVs, pickups, small commercials upwards. Plus it’s easier to absorb the cost of a diesel in a more expensive vehicle. And with pickups it is overall cheaper to own a diesel than a petrol pickup. They do weigh considerably more than a midsize car, which are mostly petrol/gasoline.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      What special status are gasoline vehicles given in the US?

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      BAFO,
      I don’t know where you get the idea that the US EPA vehicle exhaust regulations favor any manufacturer. You need to free your mind from this meme.
      I used to work in R&D for catalytic converters for light and heavy duty service. I can assure you the regs are country of origin neutral. They are more driven by CA CARB than anything else, and CARB has never been know to kow tow to the US domestics.
      The reason that light duty diesels do not do well here is that the US regs are the toughest in the world. The cost premium for a small displacement engine increases significantly over a gas engine of equal displacement for the simple reason that gas engine exhaust is much easier to clean up. Heavy duty engines manufacturers have no choice but to bite the bullet and employ a series of catalytic converters in addition to the PDF. The cost of this system does not scale down economically.
      Traditionally all other countries (excluding Canada and Japan) have given diesel emissions a pass. Europe is finally catching up to the US emission standards, but they have a huge population of relatively dirty diesel cars out there.
      Safety standards are similar. There are no preferences. Everyone must meet the same rules. If you are a multinational manufacturer, you need to pick out the most conservative standards where you want to sell and build to that standard even if it exceeds some of your other markets. Either that of open up a factory just for US products as Toyota and Nissan did for pickup trucks.
      These trucks have their fans, but have not achieved much market penetration which negates any chicken tax arguments.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        SCR, Urea Injection diesels still aren’t required in OZ. I’d say that’s preferential treatment, over petrol engines. Most your stinkin’ diesel midsize, global pickups will turn to petrol by 2020 in OZ.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Felix Hoenikker,
        I do agree at the moment the US, especially CARB have tight controls on diesel emissions. This will not last much longer.

        But, what about vehicles that require a GPF? It was known about the particulates emissions on DI gas engines from the onset.

        Also, US diesel fuel is not the same as what we use, the EU and most any other advanced (OECD) economy. US diesel limits the reduction in compression of a diesel (lower cetane value), thus increasing NOx. Even though US diesel is considered low sulphur, it still contains (can) 50% more sulphur. So, all diesel emission must be engineered to suit the higher sulphur content. US diesel has a higher scar rate. This will cause quicker injector and pump wear etc.

        France subisidised bio diesel production, the US subsidises ethanol production. The Gulf States refine EU quality diesel and the US imports North Sea gasoline.

        I don’t dispute the fact a diesel costs more to manufacturer than a gasoline engine, especially the required emissions equipment. I have read that a GPF will increase the cost of the average gasoline powered vehicle by around $500, whereas a diesel DPF is around a grand.

        So, as you can see, it’s not just the emission which favour gasoline, especially with particulates, US energy policy and energy management also impacts diesel. US diesel quality also costs more to manage in motor vehicles.

        There are many instruments that are used by countries that are called technical barriers. Some are so deeply rooted. This has nothing to do with diesel vs gasoline, but even large vehicles are promoted by regulatory controls via tow restrictions on small vehicles in the US.

        Many countries do this, but as everyone points out to me this is first and foremost a US centric site. So, I will bring up US/NA/NAFTA issue and make comparisons with global competitors.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          You’re kidding, right? Thanks to the EPA/CARB, the US came down hard on petrol engines, foreign and domestics just the same. All the while, totally exempt diesels got a free ride, and should’ve flourished, while exempt from the dreaded “smog check” of petrol light vehicles. And diesel fuel was traditionally much cheaper in the US.

          Yeah shocking small vehicles are restricted to small trailers. Along with all the nonsense you spew about how tough the US is on imports, especially vs Australia, and most specifically involving global pickups, with diesel power of course, why not note how lax Australian standards are, specifically with crash safety and emissions?

    • 0 avatar
      KM From AU

      Big Al – My Local dealer in Brsivegas had 3 on the floor at once ….. issue was is wasn’t seen as a Japanese Small Car fuel (so my service tech tells me), the CX5 Diesel on the other had sells like hotcakes.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    I would think bringing over the Mazda3 hybrid would make a better sense for the US market than the diesel given the general market preference. I wonder what’s preventing the hybrid release in US. Any kind of agreement keeping the hybrid to the domestic market? Stubbornness on the Mazda’s part? Something else?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Bringing a hybrid over doesn’t make sense, right now. They would be better off bringing over more CUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Does Mazda have any hybrids?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          They announced a Mazda3 Hybrid for Japan only. I don’t know if they ever sold it.

          • 0 avatar
            Richard Chen

            IIRC it uses Toyota licensed hybrid technology

            http://www.mazda.co.jp/cars/axela/feature/skyactiv-h/

        • 0 avatar
          Varezhka

          I don’t know what their current sales figure look like, but they’ve had the Mazda3 (Axela) Hybrid for few years now. It use Mazda Skyactiv 2L engine with Toyota HSD tuned by Mazda.

          @bball40dtw, I agree that bringing more CUV over makes better sense than any hybrid model right now. However, I do still think that hybrid makes better sense for the US market than their quixotic quest in bringing diesel over, however.

          The latter just feels more like a pride issue over homegrown technology than an actually sound business decision.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Plus they don’t “really” meet emission regs.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Another nail in the coffin?? Man, that bitch got BURIED last year already. VeeDub finished what GM started 30 years ago.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    Really odd article. Misses and overstates a few points. Of course diesel is more expensive than the gasoline equivalent. It always had been. The Ford and Holden GM equivalents, Mondeo Cruze whatevers are anywhere up to $4,000 more than the gasoline petrol version.

    Australia isnt Europe. The only cars that are mostly diesel here are the medium sized trucks like Rangers and the VW light commercials.

    2ndly there seems to be no mention of the mechanical problems the Mazda diesel has in the 3 and the CX5. The motor seem to push diesel fuel past the pistons into the crankcase. Not sure if it was ever sorted out and then, who cares? The Mazda 2.5 gasoline four is a great motor with plenty of power and torque and with comparable fuel economy to the 2.0 – no downsides with this motor. So then why is the 2.2 diesel here?

    Small cars and car based CUVs dont need diesel.

  • avatar

    with the price of gasoline in Brazil I could come to the mazda ca

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