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Brand New Mazda 2

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Mike Stevens | Oct 6, 2009

A LOT HAS CHANGED since Mazda declared in March that it would forego hybrid technology in favour of ultra-efficient diesel engines and weight reduction.

While Mazda has since revealed the MX-5 Superlight concept and the new SKY engines and transmission, it seems the Japanese carmaker is eager to jump into the hybrid market - but it will be raising $1.25 billion to do it.

Signalling a shift in direction, Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi recently spoke of the company's plans to have both hybrids and electric vehicles on offer by 2015.

Demonstrating the huge cost of developing hybrid technology, Mazda plans to issue 315.2 million new shares and sell 96.8 million treasury shares to raise the $1.25b needed to kickstart the carmaker's Hybrid programme.

Yamanouchi said that Mazda will continue to improve the economy of existing petrol and diesel engines with new technologies slated to be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show this October.

"Our new gasoline engines will achieve the same fuel economy as current diesel engines, and our diesel engines will achieve similar fuel economy as existing hybrids."

mazda_nagari_concept_hybrid_ev

Mazda has said it aims to offer affordable eco-friendly transport to ninety percent of the car-buying public.

"We will be able to offer affordable eco-friendly vehicles to 90 percent of the car-buying public, not to just a limited segment of the market."

While no details of any upcoming models have been revealed, Yamanouchi said that future vehicles would feature reduced kerb weight, stop-start technology, lower rolling resistance and improved aerodynamics.

At this stage, Mazda has no plans for sharing the technology with stakeholder Ford, but is reportedly open to the idea of selling the fruits of its labour.

In March, Mazda launched a leasing programme for the new Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid in Japan, which will see it leased to Japanese government departments and energy-related companies this year.

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