2008 Mazda CX-9
The Japanese automaker promises the new fuel economy levels will be reached in a "holistic" way. Lighter vehicle and component weights will help, as will the addition of stop/start technology to its gas-powered engines, starting in 2009.
Flex-fuel vehicles are also a part of the equation: Mazda says in 2009 it will get a flex-fuel vehicle for sale in North America (likely a Tribute crossover), and starting in 2011, its vehicles will also get direct injection for a 10 to 15 percent fuel economy boost.
Mazda also promises, as part of its goal, to introduce a new rotary engine and a new diesel engine in that span of time. By 2015, almost all the company's powertrains will be new, and after 2011, Mazda will be putting out vehicle architectures that cut weight by 220 pounds or more.
Mazda says its fuel economy in Japan increased 30 percent from 2001 to 2008, but the home market's stress on minicars and subcompacts gives all Japanese carmakers a boost there. In the U.S., the brand's latest victories have come with vehicles like the large CX-9 crossover.