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by Jez Spinks

Mazda says it will have eight SkyActiv-based models by 2016, covering its entire SUV and passenger range.

Mazda’s global boss, Takashi Yamanouchi, confirmed at the 2012 Paris motor show launch of the new Mazda6 wagon the timeframe for all of its models, with the exception of commercial vehicles such as the BT-50 ute, to make the transition to its efficiency-focused chassis, body and drivetrain technologies.

“Within four years – by 2016, [and] eight models [in total] including the CX-5,” said Yamanouchi-san, when CarAdvice asked him how long it would be before the company had overhauled its complete model line-up with SkyActiv technologies.

The Mazda CX-5 that launched in early 2012 and the third-generation Mazda6 (above) that arrives in the first quarter of 2013 are the first two models of the eight vehicles.

The other models will include next-generation versions of the Mazda2 city car, Mazda3 small car, Mazda MX-5 roadster and Mazda CX-9 seven-seat SUV.

Mazda is keeping tight-lipped about timings for when those models will be released into showrooms.

Chronologically, the Mazda2 is the next natural model to receive the full SkyActiv makeover, though Mazda insiders have suggested the Mazda3 may take precedence owing to its greater importance.

“The Mazda2 would be the next logical step but it might make more sense for Mazda as a small manufacturer to focus on a model that delivers greater profitability,” a Mazda source told CarAdvice.

The current Mazda3 was only launched in 2008 but lifespans for small cars – a critical segment globally – continue to shrink. The new, Volkswagen Golf Mk7 out next year and Subaru Impreza launched in early 2012 both replaced models that were barely five years old.

An all-new Mazda MX-5 is anticipated for 2014, ahead of an Alfa Romeo Spider twin that will use the Japanese roadster’s platform and go on sale in 2015.

A new version of the Mazda5, an MPV that isn’t currently sold in Australia, could also be on the cards, while a Mazda insider revealed to CarAdvice earlier this year that a CX-3 baby SUV was in the pipeline.

The big question about whether a rotary-powered Mazda will be among the SkyActiv line-up remains in the balance.

“We will try to meet your expectations,” was Yamanouchi’s only response when asked if a rotary-engined Mazda would be among the eight models.

The company continues to work on development of a new-generation version of the distinctive, piston-less rotary engine, which for now has died after production ceased this year of the Mazda RX-8 sports car.

“There is a dream [to bring back the rotary],” said the company’s vice-president European R&D, Ichiro Hirose. “We are working on it. But this is not a question starting for now but of the future.”

  • MisterZed

    “The current Mazda3 was only launched in 2008″ – er, it was launched in 2009. You guys really need to check your facts. As for shorter lifespans of small cars these days, the Golf mk6 was only a facelift of the mk5, hence the reason the new mk7 is coming out next year. So in effect, the current Golf’s lifespan was 9 years.

    • Phil

      It was more of a significant reskin on the existing platform than a facelift.

      • Sydlocal

         Very significant update of the same platform with many design changes inside and out to make it cheaper, easier and quicker to manufacture with a higher quality interior. The roof apparently was one of the few carry over external parts.

    • notatoy

      Who the %$#%^& told you the MK6 is a facelift?

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Jez Spinks

    Well I drove the current Mazda3 on its international launch, MisterZed, and it was most definitely November 2008. You’re thinking of its Australian release, which doesn’t count for the start of a model’s lifecycle. I’d also disagree with you about the Golf. Yes, it carried over the platform from Mk5 and was more of a Mk5.5 but there were still major changes – completely new sheetmetal, all-new interior, and more. 

    • Zaccy16

      yeah your right, the mazda 3 may have come out in aus in 2009 by in 2008 it was ready for production

      • MisterZed

        Nope, believe it or not, the new Axela did not go on sale in Japan until July 2009 – *after* it went on sale in the US and Australia!  It was definitely not available anywhere in the world in 2008.

        • Zaccy16

          I never said it was on sale in 2008 but it was ready for production

    • MisterZed

      Jez, I’m sorry but you’re still wrong. I have links that confirm the new Mazda3 did not go on sale in it’s home country, Japan, until 2009. Nowhere in the world was the new Mazda3 on sale in 2008. As for the mk6 Golf – only some panels, not all, were new. The roof was carried over from the previous model, as were the windows/glass (except perhaps the rear glass on the hatch).

      • Shak

        Mate, launched on going on sale are two different things. Jez drove the car in November when it was LAUNCHED. Just because it doesn’t go on sale for another few months doesn’t mean it hasn’t gone public.

        • MisterZed

          There are several definitions of “launch”. A media or ‘paper’ launch is one, or a ‘physical’ launch, i.e. sale to the public. I’m willing to bet the majority of people would agree with the latter, although I guess journalists think they’re above everyone else …

          • Amlohac

            Yeh now youre just grasping at straws lol. Leave them be.

  • Zaccy16

    i wonder what engine transmission they will use in the next 2?

    • matt

      hint, japan already has skyactive 1.3 CVT 2’s…

      • Zaccy16

        i know that engine and might be a bit underpowerd for aus, pls mazda use the skyactiv 6 speed auto not a rubbish CVT!

  • Dave W

    That’s too slow Mazda. By 2016 your Skyactiv tech would already be yesterday news.

    Hopefully they’re at least smart enough to update their best selling 3 first. I want a 3 MPS with Skyactiv and manual transmission, not like the auto only SP20.

    • Amlohac

      When the MPS orginally came out it was one of the cheapest most powerful little hatches you could get your hands on. I hope that this is the case if they decide to keep the MPS brand for the 3, It basically means (I hope!) they would have to make it have a power output higher than the new Focus RS. Sweeeeeet!

      • Dave W

        To be honest with you, I don’t really care even if they reduce the power to around the new Golf GTI level as long as they also reduce the torque steer.

        What I want from the Skyactiv tech is a lighter more rigid body, better fuel consumption and NVH.

        • Sydlocal

           Well you definitely have the first two and the NVH in the CX5 diesel I had a drive of the other week was an improvement in NVH over any other Mazda since the last 929! That is why I can’t work out why their cars have been so bad lately as the last two 929s were extremely quiet…

    • JooberJCW

      Heh Just like the NBN by time it gets rolled out completely.

  • Car Fanatic

    Zed is correct. The Mazda 3 was shown at the LA motor show in November 2008.

    Australia got it in April 2009, the first to do so.

    • MisterZed

      USA got it before us – March 2009.

  • Luke Brinsmead

    Why don’t we get PSA’s 1.6 diesel here in the 3? It only uses 4.5 litres and emit just 119 grams.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Jez Spinks

    You’re right about US getting Mazda3 first in March 2009, MisterZed, but from our point of view we consider the car’s lifecycle starting in 2008 because we attended the international launch in LA and drove full production cars. You can argue it strongly either way – and not because we think we’re above everyone else.

  • Mazdaman

    wish they’d hurry up with the 2.5 in the CX5

    • Zaccy16

      They have just announced on CA that it will come out in the cx5 when it is released in the new 6

  • Guest

    Anyone driven a Skyactiv Mazda lately? Mazda’s Skyactiv technology is kinda left-field and old-tech considering most Auto manufacturers are tending towards Hybrid & EV. All that Skyactiv technology Mazda talk about are: high compression engine – stop/start? brake regenerative?, weight reduction chassis – aluminium? composite materials?, transmission efficiency – TC or CVT? Does it work?

    • Sydlocal

      You be the judge. The new Mazda6 sedan is almost as big as a VE Commodore yet the high spec and heaviest petrol auto version is supposed to be less than 1420kg, over 250kg lighter than the lightest, bare bones Omega. The weight reduction is mostly through use of high strength steel with no composites and very little aluminum etc. It is not so much being “high tech”, but rather being smarter about the materials used and how/where they use them. For a company so small that doesn’t have the R&D budget of giants like Toyota/GM or VW etc it makes sense to try and optimise currently available technologies as they wouldn’t be able to afford to develop something “all new”. They are struggling to stay a-float as it is!
      Plus they are getting low 6L/100km combined for a 2.5L petrol engine in a car that size without turbo assistance etc and over 2L/100km improvement over the current shape 2.5L Mazda6. It is also larger and stronger yet lighter. Looks like it works to me with that kind of improvement!
      Plus they have the advantage of being able to do what VAG/BMW etc are doing right now and putting a turbo on lower capacity engines down the track to gain even more improvements. Remember the “high tech” 1.2 turbo engine VW use in the Polo is still only an 8V SOHC design!

      • Zaccy16

        Very good point, Mazda are not saying its new tech the skyactiv stuff they are saying they are refining the internal combustion engine to the best it could be

  • Alex Alexander

    In my home there are a CX-5 2.0L and I just got the new Mazda 6 2.5L… those car are really amazing.
    I changed from a Mazda 3 2.0L Skyactiv 2012 and it gave me a little more MPG than the new 6, but still a fun and comfortable car…