Zoom Zoom may soon rhyme with Green Green as Mazda has added itself to the growing list of automakers investing heavily in hybrid automotive technology. While it's true that the Japanese automaker has offered a hybrid version of its Tribute SUV, that car is really little more than a rebadged Ford Escape Hybrid.

Mazda's next hybrids will be developed in-house and will be adapted to existing nameplates, not standalone models such as the Toyota Prius, Lexus HS 250h and Honda Insight. We can expect to see these new Mazda hybrids sometime within the next five years or so, though the automaker is trying to push that date up as much as possible.

Why is Mazda suddenly showing such an interest in hybrid technology? Speaking to Automotive News, Executive Vice President Philip Spender suggests that it's due in part to the fact that rival automakers are investing so heavily in hybrids. Plus, upcoming regulations in the United States and abroad will usher in new technologies to reduce carbon emissions and improve fuel efficiency – two goals that hybrids are particularly well-suited for.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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