As Mazda Motor Corporation nears its 100th anniversary in 2020, the Hiroshima-based automaker recently made two announcements with an eye toward reinforcing its position as an innovation leader in the automotive industry. The first announced a partnership with Toyota Motor Corporation, and the other reinforced Mazda as an engineering powerhouse with a laundry list of innovations coming, including the world’s first commercial spark combustion compression ignition engine. This innovation follows decades of Mazda-first and exclusive technologies.
Firstly, Mazda and Toyota agreed to establish a joint venture manufacturing plant in the United States that will create jobs and manufacture 300,000 vehicles annually. Additionally, both companies will work together to develop electric vehicles, connected car technologies, advanced safety technologies and expand complementary products.
With increasing consumer and regulatory demand for electric vehicles worldwide, Mazda and Toyota’s partnership allows both companies to quickly respond to market trends in the U.S., Japan and elsewhere.
Perhaps Toyota President Akio Toyoda said it best, when marking the occasion: “The greatest fruit of our partnership with Mazda is that we have found a new partner who truly loves cars. It has also sparked Toyota’s competitive spirit, increasing our sense of not wanting to be bested by Mazda. This is a partnership in which those who are passionate about cars will work together to make ever-better cars. It is also the realization of our desire to never let cars become commodities.”
If ever there was a question of how this fortuitous corporate friendship came to be, Mazda licensed Toyota’s hybrid technology and Akio Toyoda was very pleased with Mazda’s clever integration of the technology into the Japan-market Mazda3.
Mean, Green Mazda: Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030
In the second major announcement, Mazda introduced ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030,’ a long-term vision for technology development that looks ahead to the year 2030 and beyond, building upon the original 2007 plan that outlined SKYACTIV Technology. Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030’s goal is to create a future in which people and cars coexist with the Earth.
It encompasses the concept of perfecting the internal combustion engine, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and introducing electrification technologies. Additionally, Mazda doubled down on its commitment to develop more advanced safety technologies under the Mazda Proactive Safety philosophy, introducing its goals for autonomous driving technologies under its new Mazda Co-Pilot Concept.
SKYACTIV Technology, introduced to the public in 2010 and in the first CX-5 in 2012, debuted with industry-leading fuel efficiency and drivability; a light and strong chassis; suspension that provides both comfort and driving pleasure; and wind-cheating KODO Design. Mazda will raise the bar again with its SKYACTIV-X engine, the world’s first commercial spark controlled compression ignition gasoline engine.
Compression ignition makes possible a super lean burn that improves engine efficiency up to 20-30 percent over the current SKYACTIV-G engine, and from 35-45 percent over Mazda’s 2008 gasoline engine of the same displacement. SKYACTIV-X even equals or exceeds the latest SKYACTIV-D diesel engine in fuel efficiency. It will be both economical to operate and provide high levels of driving engagement.
Mazda has strong confidence in the future of the internal combustion engine, as the company believes this technology – taken to new levels of development – offers the best opportunity to provide clean, efficient and affordable vehicles to the greatest number of customers worldwide.
In the Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 announcement, Mazda reinforced its position as the car company that is committed to building cars for customers who value driver-oriented, technology-laden cars that beg to be driven and autonomous innovations that will complement the driving experience instead of take away from it.
These two announcements are significant, both for Mazda and for the future of a changing auto industry, and give additional validation that Mazda continues to challenge conventions. As proof that Mazda’s approach is working, Mazda has been recognized as one of the most alluring (2016 World Car Design of the year and Most beautiful concept), the most the most fuel-efficient full-line brand for four consecutive years by EPA, one of the safest (Top Safety Pick + ratings), and among the top brands for performance and quality.