Mazda will be the first Japanese automaker to offer a car with a diesel engine for sale in North America when the 2014 Mazda6 goes on sale next year.
When Mazda's all-new flagship car goes on sale in January, it will initially be offered only with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine generating 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. The V6 engine is gone with this generation.
In the second half of the year, the car will also be available with a 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged diesel engine "with bags of torque," said spokesman Jeremy Barnes.
"Midsize cars is the toughest segment in the industry," said Jim Sullivan, CEO of Mazda North America. "It is fiercely brutal, a real knife fight.
"Diesel will be a point of differentiation for us. We will be the only Asian company bringing a diesel to the U.S."
The previous Mazda6 was made in Flat Rock in a joint-venture assembly plant with Ford.
But the 2014 Mazda6 is to be made in Japan, and Ford is using all the capacity in Flat Rock to make the Mustang with plans to add Fusion production next year.
Ford is interested in buying out Mazda's share in the plant, but for now it remains a 50-50 joint venture.
At one point in its history, the plant made only Mazdas, Sullivan noted.
Mazda also announced in Los Angeles on Thursday that a Mazda6 with a diesel race engine will take part in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
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