Electric cars not in the cards for Mazda

Gas engines will power almost all of the world’s cars Mazda says

June 30, 2011   by The Canadian Press

TOKYO—Gasoline engines will power 80 to 90 per cent of global vehicles even in 20 years time, according to Mazda’s president, who says he’s confident the carmaker can grow without electric vehicles.

Mazda Motor Corp. president Takashi Yamanouchi’s comments contrast with the strategy at Japanese rival Nissan Motor Co., which is banking heavily on its Leaf electric car, one of the first mass-produced EVs on the market.

Yamanouchi says Mazda’s efficient gas engine called “Skyactiv” will be a pillar of its growth strategy as the Hiroshima-based manufacturer seeks to boost sales in emerging markets, where electric vehicles and hybrids aren’t expected to be as popular as in developed nations.

Mazda currently has no hybrid vehicle in its lineup. It plans to start selling a hybrid by 2013.

Nissan has sold about 8,000 of its Leaf EVs around the world, more than half in Japan, since its gradual global rollout started in December.

The Yokohama-based carmaker is pushing to produce 250,000 EVs a year by 2015, stressing concerns about global warming and pollution continue to grow.

Mazda says there are no plans to sell its Skyactiv Demio (known as the Mazda2 here) overseas, but does have plans to include the green technology in its bigger models.

The Skyactiv Demio’s fuel efficiency is said to be around 3.31L/100km, according to Mazda. Other features, such as “idling stop”—the engine turns off automatically at traffic lights and other temporary stops—helps boost mileage.

Mazda is building engine and vehicle assembly plants in Mexico for small cars, such as Mazda2 and Mazda3, for markets in Central America and South America.

It has said it will stop building the midsize Mazda6 sedan at its 50-50 joint venture with Ford Motor Co. in Flat Rock, Michigan, but did not specify exactly when that would be, leaving the fate of the plant unclear. Mazda’s output there has been at about 40,000 vehicles a year.

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