Mazda Reaffirms Commitment to a US Diesel Release
It’s no secret that diesel-powered engines are currently having a pretty serious PR problem in the United States (thanks, Volkswagen). As a result, Mazda’s US diesel-power release was delayed in anticipation of the country coming up with much more strenuous emissions testing protocols. However, Mazda’s senior vice president for US operations Robert Davis has said that it isn’t giving up on a diesel Mazda in the United States, for one reason: a diesel engine would push Mazda away from its mass-market Japanese rivals and toward European brands, especially luxury ones.
“If we look at competitors in diesel in the U.S., it’s primarily luxury, and it’s primarily European luxury,” Davis said at the Detroit Auto Show. “That’s a nice differentiator.” Japanese rivals Nissan, Toyota, and Mitsubishi have generally avoided diesel engines. Instead, they have focused on gasoline and hybrid engines, which are much more popular with Japanese customers.
European brands have had the opposite experience. Unlike in the US, where diesels only make up a tiny percentage of passenger vehicles, Europe’s passenger vehicle market is about 50% diesel engines.
Mazda found some success in the Japanese environment with its Skyactiv technology, and Davis said that the brand can probably recreate that success with diesel in the US.
Presumably, Mazda could market that pretty easily by saying, “Look how much better we are than Volkswagen.” And, if the Skyactiv-D engine is as good as the rest of the Skyactiv line, then we are sure it will be no exaggeration.