To launch into this year's LA Auto Show festivities, the Motor Press Guild hosted Mazda president and CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, who proceeded to map out for us Mazda's plan to go from stylish underdog to a more seriously considered Japanese innovator.

"So long as I remain involved with this company... there will be a rotary engine offering or multiple offerings in the lineup."

Key to the next decade of planning for Mazda HQ in Hiroshima is the comprehensive vehicle strategy called SkyActiv. At the show today, Mazda, in fact, is showing off its next vehicle with SkyActiv tech onboard, the new CX-5 small crossover with the 2.0-liter direct-injection engine.

Following the Japanese tsunami tragedy in the midst of an already hurting world economy, Yamanouchi emphasized that the worldwide support and open sharing that happened following the tsunami allowed Mazda in particular to get up and fully running in June, just three months after the catastrophe, versus the six to nine months anticipated.
Nowadays, the chief obstacle to hitting the the company's 2015 goal of 30-percent reduced emissions and fuel use (as compared to 2008 levels) while also selling 3.7 million vehicles annually (versus today's 3.1 million) is the nasty currency exchange rates for the yen as compared to the U.S. dollar or Euro dollar. The solution has been to attack manufacturing efficiencies company-wide, resulting in 30-percent reduced R&D cost processes, 20-percent reduced chassis development for the crucial SkyActiv chassis, and 60-percent lower costs in gasoline engine development.

It is practically confirmed here today that the stunning 2010 Shinari concept will reach the street by 2013.

Mazda intends furthermore to focus the vast share of its R&D – despite promises of its own electric motor to go into production by sometime in 2013 – on internal combustion engines, since, as Yamanouchi pointed out, by 2020 the ICE percentage in all cars sold worldwide will still rest at 90-percent of the market. "However," he stated, "this is not to be seen as Mazda going for sales only. The fact is that with 90-percent remaining ICE by that year, it means that the best gains in efficiency and emissions are to be found in internal combustion technologies."

Yamanouchi also did not hide his love of the rotary engine tradition, stating in order to clear up recent speculation of the end of Renesis, "So long as I remain involved with this company, and I have been here 44 years and have no current retirement schedule, there will be a rotary engine offering or multiple offerings in the lineup."

Over the next five years, too, Mazda will bring six totally new SkyActiv models to market, with most or all to arrive in North America in one form or another. This process starts today with the CX-5, and it is practically confirmed here today that the stunning 2010 Shinari concept will reach the street by 2013 as part of this SkyActiv push. The latter will also be the big blow-out party launch of the latest company-wide design philosophy, called Kodo or "Soul of Motion", which takes influences from the movements of wild animals.

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