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Why Is Japan Only Receiving a Diesel Engine for the 2016 Mazda CX-3?

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2016 Mazda CX-3 at Chicago Auto Show Japan Diesel

Mazda is manufacturing 150,000 units of the 2016 CX-3 to sell in 120 countries. However, the units being sold in the brand’s home country of Japan will only feature a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine.

Diesel has remained the most popular in Europe, but Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai believes Japan wants diesel–only diesel. Thus, the 2016 Mazda CX-3, which has already been unveiled as an early concept version at the Los Angeles Auto Show, will be exclusively diesel-powered in Japan.

Japan Will Have to Settle for Diesel-Only CX-3 Crossover

Many are wondering, “Why is Mazda choosing to release only a diesel-powered 2016 CX-3 in Japan?” That question is especially relevant considering that Japan’s market is far from enthusiastic about diesel power. In fact, diesel vehicles sales accounted for less than 3% of all new vehicle sales in Japan in 2014. The fact that a former Tokyo governor besmirched diesel’s reputation by calling it a “health hazard” certainly doesn’t help.

“In Japan, more and more people are choosing to drive diesels,” Kogai explained. Thus, the decision wasn’t made based on how many diesel vehicles were purchased last year, but the ongoing rate of increase for diesel purchases. The other reason is that the increased power and fuel efficiency of diesel engines are major selling points for bigger vehicles.

It’s true that Japanese consumers are increasingly interested in superior fuel efficiency, and a reasonable solution could be the introduction of diesel power in larger vehicles.

The United States, however, will be only getting a gas-powered version of the compact crossover later this year, despite the market’s interest in receiving diesel versions of Mazda models (like the 6 Series).

The 2016 goes on sale for around $20,000 in Japan this week.

News Source: Reuters