Mazda Shoots for Hybrids Sometime in 2010s

Joshua Duval

Speaking at the Japanese launch of the Mazda3 yesterday, Mazda Executive Vice President Philip Spender said that the automaker is working on getting hybrids on the road within the decade.

"It's going to be the 20-teens that we're going to be actually engineering all this," he said. "And we're actually trying to pull that forward, if we can."

Mazda had been holding out on the hybrid bandwagon but recently shifted its position.

"We've started to talk a lot more about it lately, in part because everybody else is," he said. He cited recent government incentives and emissions rules as reasons for Mazda's shift in thinking.

"We now know what the carbon dioxide targets are. We now know what our fleet performance and our gaps are."

Spender says the hybrid system will be offered as an option on vehicles already in Mazda's lineup, not as a hybrid-only model - a questionable position if Mazda seeks significant sales. Toyota's dedicated hybrid, the Prius, has eclipsed sales of hybrids that are simply modified versions of existing nameplates, like the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Civic, and Toyota Camry.

In addition, Mazda will continue its goal of improving the mileage of its fleet by 30 percent by 2015 - the goal it originally set when it scoffed at the idea of hybridizing its lineup.

Source: Automotive News

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