Recently, Mazda announced plans to introduce several possible hybrids in the next few years.  The company intended to make hybrid vehicles with the assistance of Toyota and may still plan to do so, but according to Robert Davis, senior vice president of research and development for Mazda, the company may also design and execute a hybrid in-house from the ground up.

As Davis said, "The technology has to be appropriate to the driving experience we've developed over the years.  Nothing against the Prius of the Insight, but certainly if you get in them you have a tough time saying it's a spirited driving experience.  Our customer is built around emotion and it's hard to get an emotional driving experience with a car like that."

The words of Davis seem to point away from a Toyota developed hybrid and towards a Mazda, in house hybrid.  But Davis did not stop there he continued stating, "A second Mazda HEV would have to be developed in-house, rather than merely borrowing the technology from Ford as we did for the Tribute.  If you look at hybrid technology that's been the most successful, it's been completely developed from the ground up like the Prius or Insight.

One instance Davis is bashing the driving experience of the Prius and Insight and moments later acknowledging that the two vehicles are indeed the best selling examples of hybrid vehicles.

Davis finished stating, "The transplant hybrids, where you start with a donor car and take the conventional powertrain out and add the HEV in, have generally been a lot less successful."  Clearly the last statement also applies to the companies less than stellaer sales of its Mazda Tribute Hybrid, co-developed by Ford.

Recent announcements from Mazda stating they have no interest in EVs would lead us to conclude that they must develop several hybrids to be competitive in the fuel efficient vehicle category.  So will it be a Toyota developed hybrid or an in house Mazda developed hybrid, maybe one of each?  Mazda will make a decision soon, for now we can only wait.

Source:  Wards Auto (Login required)