Mazda has planted a flag of diesel defiance in the automotive world, vowing the technology has a long future in the company, even as other brands phase the engine out of their line-ups completely.
While some European cities have already banned diesel trucks and older diesel cars - and much of Europe seems to be talking about phasing out the fuel in the near future, owing partly to its effects on health and the environment, but also due to the costs involved in ensuring they meet ever stricter emissions regulations - Mazda says it is investing in diesel, and that the technology is far from disappearing.
In fact, it says diesels will “make a comeback”.
Speaking at the launch of the new Mazda 3 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ichiro Hirose, managing executive officer in charge of powertrain development for Mazda, dismissed out of hand suggestions that his company was wasting its time by continuing to work on diesel engines.
While there is a 1.8-litre diesel engine offered in the new Mazda 3, it is highly unlikely to ever arrive in Australia. Instead, expect a 2.0- or 2.5-litre petrol engine, followed by Mazda's new Skyactiv-X engine.
“Obviously (we) understand what's happening in Europe with diesel, but you have to remember they tend to drive for long distances, and they drive a lot of SUVs as well, and to reduce CO2 emissions a diesel engine is really better if you’re going to be driving for long distances,” Hirose said.
"I don’t think diesel engines will disappear entirely in the future. In fact, I think some day in the future it will make a comeback. That’s what I believe.”
Hirose said he and his engineers were currently working on improving Mazda’s diesel engines and would continue to do so.
"We are currently working on the development of the next generation of the diesel engine."
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