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.
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.”