The "zoom-zoom" brand is, as always, just a little bit different from everyone else. While most of its Japanese competitors are focused on building hybrids or shifting to plug-ins of various types, Mazda is taking what it hopes will be a more cost effective approach: losing weight and going diesel. One path that Mazda has already started down with the latest editions of the 2 and 3 is weight reduction. By 2011, its next round of models are expected to loose at least 220 pounds with a similar reduction by 2016. However, Mazda doesn't plan to use expensive exotic materials like carbon fiber to do that. Instead they plan to cut mass and reduce the cost of the vehicles.

On the powertrain side, internal combustion remains the order of the day for now, but with much greater efficiency. New, clean diesel engines will be a major part of the company's goal of reducing fuel consumption by 30 percent or more in the next 5-6 years. New nano-material technology developed in-house is greatly reducing the need for precious metal catalysts, driving down cost of diesel after-treatment systems. Mazda has also been an early adopter of gasoline direct injection and will be adding dual clutch transmissions.

Ultimately, Mazda will end up adopting more electrification in its drivetrains, but that probably won't happen until the latter half of the next decade.

[Source: Reuters]

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