Starting in 2011, Mazda’s new products will be lighter, more compact and use smaller engines. The announcement comes from Mazda North America product boss Robert Davis, who specifically said that all new products will weight at least 220 lbs less than their predecessors. The decision is part of Mazda’s initiative to improve fuel economy and Davis says the reduction in weight will lead to a fuel economy improvement of anywhere from three to five percent.
While successive products have grown in size over the year, much of the added weight is due to lager wheels and tires as well as more complex safety equipment, said Davis.
To meet the 220 lb goal, new Mazdas will use lighter materials. That doesn’t mean, however, that the next Mazda3 will be sporting carbon fiber body panels, as Davis specifically said that level of engineering just doesn’t fit the Mazda cost structure. Instead, look for the use of more aluminum as well as smaller chassis overall. The size of future Mazda products should shrink with much of the space being cut up front where new smaller engines are expected to take the place of Mazda’s current lineup of powerplants.
We expect to see this new Mazda weight-saving policy reflected in future versions of the MX-5 Miata (as hinted at with the 2,200 lb MX-5 Superlight Concept, above), as well as with the upcoming Mazda2, which is set to debut at the LA Auto Show next month as a 2011 model.