Mazda has reaffirmed plans to bring its diesel engines to the U.S. market, following several years of unfulfilled promises.
The company initially floated the idea in 2013 when the third-generation Mazda6 arrived. Engineers appear to have faced unexpected difficulties adapting the SkyActiv-D engine and exhaust systems to meet stringent US emissions regulations without excessive reductions in power output.
Volkswagen’s diesel scandal is expected to have a wider impact on the industry, though the effects could take more time to gauge. Analysts suggest the fiasco could tarnish diesel’s reputation in the US, where the technology has never expanded beyond a small niche. On the other hand, VW’s fall from grace provides potential opportunities for rivals to gain a foothold and potentially revitalize the segment.
Mazda does not appear to be discouraged by VW’s troubles. Speaking to Automotive News, the Japanese automaker’s senior VP of US operations, Robert Davis, suggests diesel engines are still under consideration for two different US models.
“We’re still committed to it,” he said. “I don’t speak timing because I made three commitments and missed all three, so I keep my mouth shut.”
The company has not publicly disclosed which nameplates could get diesel powertrains in the U.S., though the Mazda6 still appears to be the most likely candidate.