Mazda’s CEO says the new Skyactiv-X engine boasts a “number of advantages” over a conventional petrol powerplant, so the Japanese firm doesn’t “want to sell it cheap".

The automaker recently announced peak outputs and claimed fuel consumption of its new “spark-plug-controlled compression ignition” Skyactiv-X engine, which will debut in the latest Mazda3 hatchback and sedan.

Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Akira Marumoto said the “customers will decide” what impact the new engine has on sales.

“We have the manufacturing flexibility to produce all the different types of engines on the same line,” he said.

“The Skyactiv-X engine has a number of advantages, but we don't want to sell it cheap. Moving to a 10-year horizon, many of our engines will be replaced by Skyactiv-X and by further new-generation powertrains,” Marumoto revealed.

He went on to confirm the new engine – billed as the world’s first commercial petrol unit to combine the spark ignition of a petrol engine with the compression ignition of a diesel – would aid in the development of new oil-burning mills.

“As Skyactiv-X is a sort of hybrid between a gasoline [petrol] and a diesel engine, we can use this technology to develop a new generation of diesels,” Marumoto said.

The new Mazda3 is scheduled to arrive in South Africa at some point in the third quarter of 2019, although it's not yet clear whether the Skyactiv-X engine will form part of the local line-up.