Oh, Dieselgate—still making waves in the auto industry some five years after Volkswagen's emissions scandal was brought to light. Various other automakers have since been found-out for their questionable practices and, all the while, the popularity of diesel cars has tumbled immensely in the United States. Still, that hasn't stopped Mazda from trying to certify compression-ignition models to the American market. It finally succeeded with the 2019 CX-5, only for the option to disappear in 2020. Meanwhile, the long-promised Mazda6 diesel sedan is still MIA in the States, and a new bulletin from Autocar suggests it might never get here.
Citing a Mazda UK spokesperson, Autocar reported on Friday that Mazda will be ending production of the diesel 6 for the European market. Since the sedan is built at the same plants in Japan for both Europe and the U.S., and the powertrain always made more business sense in Europe regardless, this naturally raises the question of whether Mazda is ending its American diesel experiment entirely.
However, just hours after the Autocar story was published, Mazda had a surprising answer when asked just that by Carscoops: the 2020 MY Mazda6 diesel with its Skyactiv-D 2.2-liter turbo engine has officially been certified for the U.S. market. We knew earlier this year that it had been approved by the all-important California Air Resources Board, but now Mazda seems to be suggesting EPA approval, saying it's "worked closely with all proper federal and state agencies... to ensure that the Skyactiv-D 2.2 engine meets the required emission standards and passes all appropriate regulations."
Huh. Interesting timing. As for whether it'll actually go on sale in the waning months of 2020, and what'll happen in 2021, Mazda hedged and promised "more information in the future." An annual Mazda announcement that it is definitely, really bringing diesels to the U.S. is pretty much tradition now, even after so-called “clean” technologies were generally disgraced in 2016. Honestly, it seems likely the diesel 6 is dead on arrival here. With sedans continuing to lose market share and the industry at large still on shaky ground, it's exactly the wrong time for a niche product like this. Plus, winding down Mazda's diesel programs would fit with its Saudi Aramco partnership to develop new, lower carbon fuels.
As for EVs, Mazda's been weirdly resistant to electrification until this year, when it at last announced the electric MX-30 crossover with the addition of a range-extending rotary engine this month.
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