New Toyota subcompact to feature Mazda’s Skyactiv engine

Article by Eugene Conan, on March 11, 2014

Toyota Motor Corp. will be using Mazda’s Skyactiv engine for its new subcompact that is derived from the Mazda2. Toyota will be sourcing the Skyactiv engine from Mazda’s new Salamanca site in Mexico. According to Keishi Egawa, chief executive of Mazda’s operations in Mexico and director of the Salamanca facility, the new subcompact will feature Toyota-designed sheet metal but will be powered by Mazda’s high-compression, fuel-injected Skyactiv gasoline engine. 

“They will make model-specific investment for the Toyota vehicle,” Egawa told Automotive News in an interview at the opening of the site in February. While the stamping and dies, as well as“some of the interior design work,” will be Toyota’s, the Mazda2 derivative will use the Skyactiv engine. The Salamanca site will allocate around 50,000 vehicles for Toyota from its full annual production capacity of 230,000 units.

The site is expected start producing for Toyota between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016.  By using Mazda’s Skyactiv engine, Toyota could polish the appeal of its subcompact offerings.

The new subcompact car is bound to replace the Yaris, the latest generation of which went on sale in the United States in 2011 with a carryover engine and transmission. It would be one of only a few direct-injection engines at Toyota. Right now, only a few Lexus nameplates, the Scion FR-S and some Japan-only Toyota sedans are ran by direct injection engines.

The agreement with Toyota would allow Mazda to maximize economies of scale at its Mexican sites while enabling Mazda to promote its Skyactiv technology as the engine for a well-respected rival. Mazda is expected to start building the next-generation Mazda2 in Mexico as early as the second half of 2014.

Mazda commenced building the Skyactiv-equipped Mazda3 sedan and hatchback at the site in January. Although the Japan-market Mazda2 offers a 1.3-liter Skyactiv engine, the current US variant does not.  However, the next generation Mazda2 is expected to get the entire set of Skyactiv technologies, including the new engine, transmission and chassis. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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