Mazda is hopeful buyers will spring for the CX-5 diesel.
Despite diesel's recent woes in the United States market, Mazda is hopeful that about 10 percent of U.S. buyers will opt for the technology in the company's latest CX-5 crossover.
The CX-5 is currently offered in the United States exclusively with a 2.5L gas engine, but Mazda will add a 2.2L diesel engine this fall. The diesel engine destined for the CX-5, which will be branded Skyactiv-D, is currently undergoing certification by the EPA. Mazda expects approval of the oil burner in "the coming months."
Once it does arrive, Mazda expects about a 10 percent take rate for the diesel. Mazda sold about 112,000 CX-5s in the U.S. last year, so that means Mazda is targeting roughly 11,200 CX-5 diesel sale annually.
The diesel engine will initially be limited to high-end versions of the CX-5, but Mazda North American Operations President and CEO Masahiro Moro told Automotive News that the technology could eventually trickle down to other trim levels. "Starting from high and expanding, I think, is the right way," he said.
Although 11,200 units isn't a huge amount in a booming SUV market, Mazda might struggle to achieve that goal. Volkswagen's diesel scandal has tarnished diesel's image in the U.S., and the technology has historically struggled outside of the pickup truck segment. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is probably the biggest diesel success when it comes to utility vehicles, and even it never topped an 8 percent take rate.
Mazda has not announced technical details on the CX-5 diesel but will do so later this year.