In a mild role-reversal of sorts, Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi has said that his company will in fact venture into electric vehicles and hybrids, but not until 2015. In the meantime, the Japanese automaker will focus on incremental improvements in the efficiency of gasoline and diesel engines and strive for an overall weight reduction in all of its vehicles with the goal of increasing fuel efficiency 30 percent by 2015.

The upcoming Tokyo Motor Show is expected to serve as a showcase for new engine technology from Mazda. According to Yamanouchi, "Our new gasoline engines will achieve the same fuel economy as current diesel engines, and our diesel engines will achieve similar fuel economy as existing hybrids."

Taking this incremental approach will allow Mazda "to offer affordable eco-friendly vehicles to 90 percent of the car-buying public, not to just a limited segment of the market." Expect to see stop/start, improved aerodynamics and low rolling-resistance tires added to the aforementioned weight reduction combined to create relatively low-cost eco-friendly vehicles.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]

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