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Mazda opts for diesel

Mazda will expand its Australian diesel models later this year, with a Mazda3 diesel to join the Mazda6.

The new addition is expected to arrive in September and will be available in sedan and hatchback. It will have the same engine as the Mazda6 diesel.

The two-litre common-rail turbo diesel produces 105kW and 360Nm. It has a claimed fuel consumption of six litres/100km.

It will be available only in Maxx Sport trim and will have a rear spoiler, 16-inch wheels and unlike the petrol models, will have Electronic Stability Program as standard.

Mazda spokesman Alistair Doak said the company expected to sell more than 100 Mazda3 diesels a month. Mazda sold 2758 Mazda3s last month, making it the second-most popular small car, behind the Toyota Corolla.

When the Mazda6 diesel went on sale, Mazda originally forecast 50 sales a month, but Mr Doak said it had been closer to 100.

He said there were no plans to expand the diesel range in Australia.

“They will be our two diesel passenger cars, the ones that sell the most in Europe,” he said. “None of our Japanese competitors has diesel and we're introducing a second.”

Mr Doak said there were no plans for diesel engines in the CX-7 or CX-9 because those cars were primarily for the North American market, where diesels were not in demand.

The Mazda3 diesel will be followed by a new Mazda2 model.

The smaller Mazda will go on sale in October and is expected to cost about $16,000 for the base model.

Mr Doak said buyers could expect the new Mazda2 to be comparable in price to the present car, which started at $16,335 for the Neo and rose to $20,290 for the Genki model.

But unlike its rivals, which have 1.3-litre entry models, Mr Doak said the Mazda2 would be sold with only a 1.5-litre engine.

He said the Mazda2 was a vital part of the overall line-up, with the car coming third in sales to the Mazda3 and Mazda6.

The current car has been on sale since December 2002. So far this year Mazda has sold 3045, up 30 per cent on last year's figures.

The car's styling brought it into line with the rest of the Mazda line-up.

Mazda is also expected to carry over the existing three models the Neo, Maxx and Genki.