LOS ANGELES -- Delays in emissions testing have prompted Mazda to postpone the U.S. launch of its diesel-powered Mazda6 by four months, a hiccup in the company's plan to become the only Japanese automaker with a diesel passenger car on sale in the United States.
Instead of hitting showrooms before year end as planned, the mid-sized sedans with Mazda's Skyactiv-D 2.2-liter turbodiesel will arrive in late April, Mazda said in a letter to employees last week.
Dealers were disappointed, but not too concerned. Michael MacDonald, owner of two Mazda dealerships near Salt Lake City, said he felt reassured that the delay was related to emissions testing, and not the engine's performance or engineering.
The diesel version was planned as a low-volume product that would account for only about 10 percent of the Mazda6 sales mix in the early part of its launch next year, a Mazda source familiar with the company's plans said. But it was a key part of Mazda's strategy to meet stricter fuel economy targets.
To make up for the delay, U.S. dealers will receive about 4,000 more gasoline-powered Mazda6s than initially planned in the first quarter, the source said.