TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Dave Coleman is not exactly sure what “Skyactiv” means, but he knows it when he sees it.

Coleman, vehicle development engineer at Mazda’s North American Operations, uses the tagline for his presentation at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars here to describe how the Japanese auto maker is going after grams, not pounds, to reduce vehicle weight, improve fuel economy and lower emissions.

Thus, “Skyactiv” can be applied to all sorts of efforts, usually with a secondary letter such as “Skyactiv-G,” denoting a gasoline engine.

A Mazda spokesman says the auto maker had hoped to copyright “sky,” but apparently you can’t claim such a generic name, so it was combined with “active,” minus the “e.”

Whatever, Coleman underscores numerous examples of weight saving Mazda either already has achieved or deems feasible. He shows a chart indicating up to a 30% weight savings with 15%-20% in engines, 4%-7% in transmissions and 3%-5% in material. “With synergies and nitpicking, we can get to 30%,” he says.

“There is still a huge opportunity for improved efficiency from gasoline engines,” Coleman says, reeling off some improvements in engine combustion logged by Mazda: 74% less oil pump drag; 31% less water pump drag; 25% less reciprocating drag; 50% less valvetrain friction; 27% less belt drag; and 20% less pumping loss.