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Sub-85g/km possible for next Mazda CX-5

Date: 21 September 2011   |   Author: Tristan Young

Mazda is aiming to leapfrog competitors with the second stage of its Skyactiv efficiency drive, which could see a further 30% cut in emissions on top of the 20% drop that has been seen with the first Skyactiv car, the CX-5 SUV.

Speaking to BusinessCar at the Frankfurt motor show, Mazda's powertrain boss Susumu Niinai said: "We have set up three steps to Skyactiv - we have done the first step [with CX-5], the second step is about further engine development.

"We are on-target to save 30% on top of the 15-20% from the first stage."

Niinai said he hoped to reach that by 2015 or 2016. This timing would coincide with a mid-life facelift of the CX-5, which goes on sale at the start of 2012.

The 30% efficiency improvement would come from new engines featuring homogeneous charge compression ignition technology, or HCCI, which several car makers are working on.

HCCI is well known for its efficiency, but also suffers from several problems including engine knocking. Niinai said he was confident that Mazda had overcome the issues surrounding HCCI, but said that the solution was a commercial "secret".

While Niinai refused to give an exact CO2 or fuel economy saving for the next CX-5, a cut of 30% in the current car's lowest CO2 of 119g/km would put it below 85g/km and would also see an equivalent mpg rise from 60mpg to nearer 80mpg. However, he did add that tweaks at model-year changes could see the CX-5 at "104g/km in two years".

Niinai refused to comment on stage three of Skyactiv other than to say that part of the development focused on engine cooling.

Mazda believes it is on the edge of a new wave of growth similar to what it achieved after launching the Mazda 6 in 2001, thanks to its Skyactiv efficiency drive, according to Mazda Europe chief operating officer Phil Waring.

Speaking to BusinessCar at the Frankfurt motor show, Waring said: "The prospect of new product with a new design and new technology means we're in a similar position to where we were at the launch of the Mazda 6. We saw [European] sales go from 160,000 a year to 320,000 between 2002 and 2008. We're at 210,000 now but over a similar time we should be significantly above the 320,000 cars mark."

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