Mazda Conducts Study To Prove Not Everyone Loves Hybrids

Technology

Only a third are eager for self-driving cars too.

Mazda commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct a survey in 11 European markets gauging public interest and preferences when it comes to combustion engines and other technology. In the study – dubbed the Mazda Driver Project – 58% responded that there is “a lot of innovation and improvement still to come with petrol and diesel engines,” and in some countries it was 60% or higher. So, what does this tell us?

Mazda’s chief conclusion from the leading survey questions is that “consumers don’t necessarily share the view of many organizations that the internal combustion engine has no role to play in the future of cars.” Think Mazda wants governments to rethink their diesel and combustion engine bans? One question was whether drivers “hope that diesel cars will continue to exist” as EVs become more common, which only received 31 percent support. Although Mazda casts that as a positive, it seems rather low considering diesel used to account for upwards of half of all passenger car sales in Europe prior to some little stink about emissions cheating. What was that called again? Diesel-door? Diesel-fence?

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Even if all the running costs were level, only a third of drivers would pick combustion over electric motivation, although in Italy a majority would still pick diesel or petrol over electrons. However, one thing the majority seems to agree on is that autonomous cars are scary, and only 33 percent of drivers surveyed stated that they would “welcome the advent of self-driving cars,” an attitude shared even by those in younger age groups. Mazda isn’t one to let the majority phase them, however, so they are quick to point out that they too have autonomous driving technologies in their cars to improve safety and give drivers some relief from the stress of driving in tedious conditions.

What was the point of the survey? Well, to be completely cynical, it was just an opening for them to plug their SKYACTIV-X powertrain, “the world’s first commercial gasoline engine to use compression ignition; this new engine combines the advantages of gasoline and diesel engines to achieve outstanding environmental performance, power and acceleration performance.” Oh yeah, and Mazda is still years away from having a marketable hybrid, never mind an electric vehicle. We get it Mazda, it’s a cool powertrain. Read all about it in our test drive of a Mazda3 SkyActiv-X prototype.

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