Mazda says it still plans to bring diesel power to its North American lineup, despite a VW diesel emissions scandal that threatened to dampen demand for the fuel-efficient engine type.

Diesel had factored heavily into Mazda's plans for its SkyActiv fuel-efficiency initiative, a holistic approach to saving fuel that went beyond drivetrain tech and into more straightforward methods, like cutting weight from vehicle bodies. But more than five years after that initial promise, Mazda seems no closer to making diesel a reality in showrooms on this continent.

According to an Automotive News report, though, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai says diesel will come here, if he has anything to do with it.

The 61-year-old executive blames the delay on stringent North American emissions standards Mazda says sucks the fun out of a range of diesels that have been well-received in other markets. But Kogai says he promises to find a way to make the engines perform properly -- and run cleanly -- here while he's still the boss; to that end, he said, a second generation of SkyActiv technology will make Mazda's cars even more efficient. That will happen by way of a gasoline engine with a diesel-like 18:1 compression ratio, up from 13:1 in Mazda's current naturally-aspirated engines, which is already higher than most mass-produced motors.

SkyActiv 2, as the evolutionary tech will be marketed, is due in early 2019, and if Kogai-san gets his wish, we figure Mazda diesels will be available here for the 2020 model year.