Mazda Still Plans to Launch Diesels in the U.S.

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
mazda still plans to launch diesels in the u s

Volkswagen’s emissions scandal gave oil burners a bad name, but Mazda isn’t ditching its plans for a diesel roll-out in North America.

The automaker has an internal timeline for a stateside launch of Skyactiv diesels that will meet stringent U.S. pollution regulations, Automotive News reports.

When they’ll show up is anyone’s guess. Speaking at the Japanese launch of the refreshed Mazda3, Mazda Motor Corp. CEO Masamichi Kogai didn’t give any hints.

“We are not giving up,” Kogai said. “We have a timeline.”

He added that he’d like the launch to happen while he’s still CEO — a statement that won’t have American diesel fans scrambling to clear their schedules.

Mazda’s diesels are big in Japan, but emissions restrictions are tougher on this side of the Pacific. Engineers are working to achieve the right balance of power and cleanliness, Hiroyuki Matsumoto, general manager of Mazda’s vehicle development division, told Automotive News.

Unlike other automakers, Mazda hasn’t adopted hybrid powertrains in its fleet, opting to focus on high-compression gasoline engines that deliver increased mileage without the added complexity and expense. Second generation Skyactiv gasoline engines should start appearing in March 2019. The automaker predicts a 30 percent fuel efficiency boost thanks to a compression ratio of 18:1, up from the previous generation’s 14:1.

The next generation of Mazda vehicles will see weight-saving measures to further aid fuel economy.

[Image: Mazda]

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  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Jul 23, 2016

    In my area diesel is cheaper than premium so if Mazda could make a diesel work as a performance option I'd be interested.

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    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Jul 25, 2016

      @Jimal In the Southwest our major diesel users are semi-trucks, school buses, and rodeo cowboys hauling their trailers and gear to the rodeo. The price here tends to fluctuate slowly, trailing gas prices in rising and falling. Regular is about $2.05 here, premium $2.50, and diesel about $2.20. Prior to the collapse of the price of oil, diesel was consistently about 10 cents more than premium gasoline.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jul 24, 2016

    I don't think diesel is for everyone. If you are driving longer distances where the engine has a chance to warm up to optimum temperature and you are driving a lot then it would make sense. If you are driving mostly short trips such as a few miles then it is not worth paying the price for a diesel and you are more likely to have mechanical issues especially in colder climates. I have asked several experienced mechanics that work on both diesel and gas engines and have asked them if a diesel would make sense for someone that does a lot of shorter trips mostly to the Park & Ride and the grocery store which is 3 miles away. The mechanics agreed that the diesel is not a good choice for me. Eventually both the diesel and gasoline will eventually be replaced with cleaner more efficient energy. Any improvements to efficiency and cleanness of gasoline and engine are a stop gap measure to meet current and future government mandates. Even hybrids are not a permanent solution but combined with gasoline and diesel they can improve efficiency.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jul 24, 2016

    If Gen 2 Skyactiv engines are going to be 30% more efficient than today's, then why develop a US diesel at all? Note to Mazda: Free advice... just develop a diesel rotary, and consolidate the resources you're wasting on niche technology as a niche player.

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    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jul 25, 2016

      @JimZ I was being snarky, as you may have guessed. I can't imagine the lifetime of apex seals under 22:1 compression.

  • 415s30 415s30 on Jul 30, 2016

    Oh I want the twin turbo diesel Skyactive race engine in a new Miata.