Diesel cars are returning to the Japanese market after Tokyo’s governor banned many of these from the city 13 years ago. Automakers have come up with innovations that enable diesel technology to let go of its sooty reputation. Mazda Motor Corp. is one of those who are relying more heavily on cleaner diesels, competing with imports and hybrids as government incentives increase the demand for frugal vehicles.
The new cars will go up against SUVs from Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motor Corp. and models that BMW and Daimler get from Europe, where half of new cars are powered by a diesel engine and where diesels are offered by most automakers, which include Japanese automakers. Diesel motors have become quieter and much cleaner than in 1999 due to being now equipped with improved filters, turbochargers and fuel injection.
It can be recalled that in 1999, Gov. Shintaro Ishihara moved to ban them from the city and so he displayed a bottle of black soot. Atsuo Ito, an advertising executive who bought a new Mazda Diesel CX-5 crossover, said that aside from now driving around a car that’s quiet and clean, his monthly fuel expenses have been cut in half.
This year, the national government presented subsidies of up to 180,000 yen ($2,200) for diesels. The government hopes that by 2020, 5% of new passenger vehicles will use the technology, from only being at 0.4% last year. The Japan Automotive Dealers Association said that as of October, diesel sales had tripled from last year to 31,425 units in Japan.
The latest 2013 Mazda 3 debuts a fresh new look for the first time in the United States during the New York International Auto Show of 2011. It was given a face lift for a more refined interior and exterior. It is also the pioneering car in North America to feature the innovative SKYACTIV performance-oriented and fuel-saving technologies of Mazda which achieves up to 40 mg in a highway ride. This model is a worldwide best-selling sensation and accounts for about a half of the entire Mazda sales in the U.S. This makes the Mazda 3 a leading candidate in presenting SKYACTIV to those who are up for a dynamic performance combined with excellent fuel efficiency.
According to Jim O'Sullivan, the President and CEO of Mazda North American Operations (MNAO), SKYACTIV is no ordinary engine as it is the next generation of superior vehicle performance as well as efficiency. It embodies the brand’s value of manufacturing fun-to-drive vehicles which are also rewarding to own, while being environmentally responsible at the same time.
Its SKYACTIV-G gasoline engine is the latest SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission along with the newly developed SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission. These engines are matched with the model’s improved athletic driving dynamics, relaxing cabin space and responsive handling.
Its exterior design is also polished to highlight a much bolder stance along its improved interior appointments that create further functionality without giving up its distinguished touch-and-feel quality. Additional safety measures are also added to complete the set of developments.