Mazda's SkyActiv-X sales are well below the automaker's expectations.
With the launch of the new Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-30, 2019 was a busy year for Mazda. Looking ahead, however, the next few years are going to be comparatively quiet for the Japanese manufacturer. According to a report by Nikkei Asian Report, Mazda will face some significant challenges as no major new models are planned until the launch of the automaker's all-new platform in the fiscal year through March 2023.
In the meantime, Mazda will continue updating its existing models to keep them fresh, but it's a risky strategy as buyers may be more tempted by all-new models from competitors in the same segment.
Mazda does have a secret weapon that could give it an advantage, however: the amazing SkyActiv-X engine. Thanks to its spark plug controlled compression ignition technology, the SkyActiv-X engine combines spark ignition of a gasoline engine with the compression ignition of a diesel engine, resulting in improved performance and reduced emissions. Mazda's revolutionary SkyActiv-X is offered with the new Mazda 3 and CX-30, but it hasn't been as successful as Mazda had hoped, sales-wise.
The Japanese automaker predicted that 25 percent of Mazda 3s and 30 percent of CX-30s sold would be equipped with the Skyactiv-X engine, but the publication reports that only four percent of Mazda 3s have it installed and only two percent of CX-30s have it.
This perhaps isn't surprising considering the price to get one. Models equipped with Skyactiv-X cost around $6,300 more than regular gasoline engines.
"You have to be quite a car lover to feel the difference," a Mazda executive said, adding that "it's hard to persuade a customer to go for the better engine."
With no new models launching in the next few years, discounting current models to lure buyers might make sense, but Mazda fears this could damage the brand. Whether the strength of Mazda's current models and services is enough to keep attracting buyers for the next two years remains to be seen. Having said that, Mazda's stellar safety reputation is generating good publicity for the brand. Out of all the 2020 models tested by the Institute for Highway Safety, five Mazda models earned the highest Top Safety Pick+ Award.