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Will Mazda Diesel Strategy Pay Off?

Mazda sells plenty of diesel-powered vehicles – they just happen to be sold overseas.
Posted: June 23, 2017 - 3:52PM
Author: Tim Healey

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That’s going to change soon, though, as the company looks to expand its diesel offerings to our shores. This could help it boost sales after a sluggish start to the year, and Mazda, along with GM, could be looking to fill in the void in the diesel market that Volkswagen has left behind as it deals with the emissions-cheating scandal.

Upcoming Mazda CX-5 Diesel

The upcoming diesel version of the CX-5 compact crossover will go a long way to seeing whether diesel can be a viable growth strategy in the U.S. for the small, struggling automaker. Mazda makes cars that wow the automotive press with their driving dynamics, and the company is competitive on price and fuel economy, but for whatever reason, the buying public hasn’t flocked to Mazda showrooms. Adding to Mazda’s troubles is the fact that the overall market has hit a snag following several years of post-recession sales booms.

While Mazda has a clear opportunity with diesels, there are reasons to be cautious, no matter what market analysts say. The biggest challenge is that American attitudes toward diesel are less favorable than what’s seen overseas – thanks to the noisy, smelly, poorly-built oil burners of the ‘80s and the mark they left America’s collective consumer memory. The recent emissions cheating scandals clearly have left a black mark of their own, as well.

Could Mazda Offer More Diesels?

Even if the Mazda CX-5 sells well with diesel engine, it will still be just one available engine and one model. Mazda will have to consider extending diesel offerings across the line – the CX-9 and 6 are obvious candidates for an optional diesel, and a case could be made for the CX-3 and 3. The take rate of diesel CX-5s will no doubt play a part.
Mazda’s chance to get a boost from diesel engines will come this fall.

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