Mazda's diesel off the table for U.S., it appears


2016 Mazda 6

2016 Mazda 6

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More than nine months after the Volkswagen emissions scandal first broke, its impact on the U.S. diesel market is still being assessed.

It's now becoming clear that VW won't return to selling large numbers of its TDI diesel models in the U.S. any time soon.

Other carmakers remain committed to their diesel models, mostly pickup trucks, SUVs, and luxury cars.

CHECK OUT: Mazda Diesel Still On Tap, But Performance Must Be Suitable, Exec Says (Feb 2015)

Then there's Mazda.

A diesel version of the Mazda 6 sedan was slated for a U.S. launch back in 2013, but it has gradually slipped down Mazda's list of priorities.

Now, the Mazda diesel engine may be completely off the table for the U.S., according to WardsAuto.

2017 Mazda 3 (Japanese spec)

2017 Mazda 3 (Japanese spec)

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At a recent dinner with reporters, Masahiro Moro—Mazda's new North American CEO—indicated that modifications to meet U.S. emissions standards would compromise the car's performance too much.

Concerns that the engine would not be sporty enough to match Mazda's "Zoom-Zoom" image were responsible for previous delays.

More recently, development work was sidelined so Mazda could concentrate on several product launches, including the MX-5 Miata sports car, and its CX-3 and CX-9 crossovers.

ALSO SEE: Mazda Predicts Further 30-Percent Efficiency Gain For Next SkyActiv Engines (Sep 2015)

Mazda's performance targets for the U.S.-spec engine were also very demanding.

The company originally wanted to sell the engine in the U.S. without an exhaust aftertreatment system, which injects urea fluid into the exhaust to scrub pollutants.

This is the same type of system absent from many of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder TDI models that Volkswagen could only get certified by employing illegal "defeat device" software.

2017 Mazda CX-3

2017 Mazda CX-3

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Mazda's Moro said the VW emissions scandal has also hurt the business case for bringing a new diesel to the U.S.—especially for a relatively small company like Mazda.

Green Car Reports reached out to Jacob Brown from Mazda product communications to ask about the fate of the planned diesel sedan.

"Mazda is still studying the market for a diesel engine to make its way to North America," Brown responded.

MORE: Why Next Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Is So Important: CA Laws (Jun 2015)

"We do not have timing for when such an engine would make production, or in what application."

At the same time, Mazda will likely try other avenues to improve fuel efficiency across its model line.

 

A new generation of gasoline SkyActiv engines set to appear in 2018 is expected to offer increased efficiency over the current engines, which already offer good fuel economy.


2015 Mazda CX-5 GT

2015 Mazda CX-5 GT

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Mazda also has an ongoing partnership with Toyota that it may use to gain access to the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the 2017 Prius Prime.

Starting in 2018, California laws will require Mazda to sell a plug-in car, but the company likely lacks the resources to develop the powertrain for such a car on its own.

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