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Diesel power. It's not just for Europeans anymore. In fact, when Mazda introduces its new CX-3 compact crossover to its home market of Japan, the model will be exclusively diesel-powered, Reuters says, citing remarks made by Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai.

Consistent with its recent push for better fuel economy, Mazda is embracing diesel power as a way to boost fuel-economy for cars that may be larger than the compact variety. Mazda, which plans to make about 150,000 gas- and diesel-powered CX-3s for global consumption per year, is pricing the diesel CX-3 at about $20,000 in Japan.

Diesel sales accounted for less than three percent of new-vehicle sales in Japan last year, so there's a risk to Mazda's strategy. But the automaker, which is the fifth-largest in Japan, says performance and noise (and smoke) issues largely associated with diesel powertrains in the past have largely been eliminated. In all, Mazda expects worldwide sales for the year ending March 31 to rise almost five percent from a year earlier to about 1.4 million units.

Mazda showed off an early version of the CX-3 at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, though North American versions of the model will indeed be gas-powered.

Related Video:
2016 Mazda CX-3 | 2014 LA Auto Show


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