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In shift, Mazda embraces electrics, hybrids

In a shift in strategy, Mazda Motor Corp. plans to produce hybrid and electric vehicles. Automotive News reports.

Automotive News

NEW YORK -- In a shift in strategy, Mazda Motor Corp. plans to produce hybrid and electric vehicles.

The company aims to boost the average fuel economy of its cars globally 30 percent by 2015. Just last year, Mazda said it did not plan to offer alternative power trains.

At the auto show here, CEO Takashi Yamanouchi did not say when Mazda will first offer electrics and hybrids. But he said they will be in the lineup in 2015.

In addition, this year Mazda will reveal a new family of fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel engines.

Yamanouchi said: "Our new gasoline engines will achieve the same fuel economy as current diesel engines, and our diesel engines will achieve similar fuel economy as existing hybrids."

The engine technology will be unveiled in October at the Tokyo auto show.

"We will be able to offer affordable eco-friendly vehicles to 90 percent of the car-buying public, not to just a limited segment of the market," Yamanouchi said.

He said the automaker's new engines and engine technology will not be shared with Ford Motor Co.

"This is unique technology for Mazda. But if Ford desires, we will be ready to sell our technology," Yamanouchi said.

He said Mazda has not decided whether a diesel engine will be offered on vehicles sold in the United States.

To reach the 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption, Yamanouchi said, Mazda also will reduce vehicle weight and rolling resistance, improve vehicle aerodynamics, incorporate a start-stop feature that shuts off the engine at idle and add other technology.

(Source: Automotive News)