Last post on May 08, 2012 at 4:17 PM
You are in the Mazda 626
What is this discussion about?
Mazda 626, Sedan
#494 of 2044 Mazdas on Ford Platforms?
Mar 25, 2001 (9:02 am)
"Do you know that Ford is planning on putting the 626 on the Contour platform, and the Protege on the Focus platform"
Don't believe everything you read on a forum, especially if it doesn't have references. Also make sure you have the latest Ford plan and not the previous version of it. I expect Ford to use some common platforms for Fords and Mazdas but they could use a Mazda platform for some sizes and a Ford platform for other sizes. The Tribute/Escape vehicle was developed by Mazda. The B series pickup was developed by Ford. The Ford Aspire was developed by Mazda and built by Kia. The other products sold in the U.S., at least for Model Year 2001, are still separate. There is no more Contour platform since the Contour is out of production. There is a new Mondeo platform in Europe which is supposed to be a big improvement over the previous Mondeo platorm.
Mar 25, 2001 (10:45 am)
I also took exception with the 626 being disappointing', as described by one of the articles. Just the fact that it doesn't sell as well as the big guys, doesn't make it a disappointment. I think it's a great car that has not been marketed well and needs more style, up and low-end torque to compete in the mid-size car market.
In a way, I think windowphobe6 is right that Mazda has and probably will continue to rub(bed) off on Ford. The problem is ensuring that Mazda is influenced by the good things about Ford (and not the bad). The problem with the auto transmission in the 4-cylinder 626 (93-97), which Windowphobe6 is very knowledgeable about, is a debacle that should not be allowed to repeat itself. This problem, which hurt Mazda's reputation, has since been fixed in the ewer models.
There's no doubt that Ford stepped in when Mazda was drowning and faced extinction; they've helped to keep the company afloat. Nonetheless, consumers who have had problems with American cars in the past tend to regard the link between Ford and Mazda as being problematic.
Could anyone further elaborate on this platform business? Are Ford platforms inherently bad or good? What's the difference between Ford's and other platforms?
#496 of 2044 Platform sharing and other stories
Mar 25, 2001 (2:26 pm)
It's a mixed blessing. It's keeping General Motors alive; on the other hand, part of GM's ongoing image problem is having done so much of it for so long. But I'll get to that later.
On this Contour business: the Contour/Mystique was in fact built as a US version of the '93-up Ford Mondeo, a European product. (And they, too, got the CD4E tranny.) Speculation has been rampant - I know, because I've done some of it - that the next 626 would be cloned from the next Mondeo. The Contour, regrettably, has been allowed to die, and the Mystique put out of its mysery as well, so if Mazda is really going to do the sixth-generation 626 (or whatever it's called) at Flat Rock on a platform to be shared with Ford and/or Mercury, the only thing North America may get out of the next Mondeo would be the new entry-level Jaguar. (And doesn't that sound funny?)
Come 2004 or 2005, the Protegé and Focus will likely share a platform. I don't consider this a problem, since both of these cars are worthy. (I got some seat time in two Foci last year, and they can Zoom Zoom just fine, thank you very much.) Still, I don't expect them to be identical. Consider the one thing the cars currently share - the automatic transmission design, to which both companies contributed. Ford's 4F27E and Mazda's FN4A-EL have the same case and some of the same design parameters, but you can't bolt a Focus tranny into a Protegé, or vice versa.
The CD4E story deserves more attention than it's gotten, and we may never know all of the horrible details, but this isn't the first transmission (not even the first Ford transmission) that had teething problems, and both Mazda and Ford could have done more, I think, for the customers who got stuck with version 1.0. There is a small community of '94-'97 Ford Probe owners who have dumped the CD4E and replaced it with a stick, something which is supposed to be next to impossible, but which I find curiously gratifying. And as for current CD4Es, well, I have one, so obviously I don't think it's a time bomb. On the other hand, I don't think much of Mazda's nonadvice on tranny maintenance, and I've said so more than once, and both Ford and Mazda know it.
What makes a platform good? To my way of thinking, it has to be designed in such a way that the buyer of the stripper version isn't made to feel like a cheapskate for not having spent the extra seven grand (or whatever) for the higher-lux edition. A tricky business, but it can be done. Right now, a 626 with the V6 will blow right past my lowly four-banger on the straightaways, but I bet I can stay with it through the twisty bits; more money buys a bigger motor and (sensibly) bigger brakes, but decent handling is baked into this chassis. GM, on the other hand, would have made suspension upgrades optional and probably would have had the option-package designation painted on a quarter-panel somewhere. Ford knows better than that; even the low-end Contour was a decent ride. The Focus with the SPI engine is slower and grumpier but no less tossable than the Zetec-equipped version. And surely no one thinks less of the Lincoln LS for not being a Jaguar S-Type.
#497 of 2044 Platforms and the like...
Mar 26, 2001 (8:08 am)
First, Ford owns 33.4% of Mazda and not 50%.
Second, when asked by the press who has the best built cars, Jac Nasser said, "the Japanese do".
The original post mentioning all the platform sharing woes was just way off base. Don't forget that the Ford group includes: Ford, Linc-Merc, Mazda, Jaguar, Volvo, Range Rover and Aston-Martin. With Mazda and Volvo having hot beds of excellent engineering, expect some very nice platforms to emerge. Also, a platform sharing doesn't mean that the vehicles will look, handle or brake the same. It just means that that there are many shared components and it doesn't mean that Ford DNA will be in every vehicle.
Platform sharing means that with higher volume, a maker can build better cars for less. I don't think anyone should fear the 2003 626 as I am sure it will be superior to the current version and it won't have the CD4E.
Mar 26, 2001 (11:08 am)
Thanks to all for the clarification on the platform and other related issues. It's gratifying to know that there are lot of knowledgeable people out there, who can explain some of these issues using everyday language. I guess we should not hurriedly mourn the demise of Mazdas' fun to drive factor and their overall reliability, as the relationship between Ford and Mazda deepens.
On a side note, it would be nice to see a mx6-like coupe in the future, just in case any Mazda officials monitor this forum. Although I like the extra space in the 2000 626, I really don't need all that room. Since I like compact cars, I would have bought the protege, but since it doesn't offer a v6, I went for the 626.
Mar 26, 2001 (2:03 pm)
This concept scares me off. For example, we own a 626 and a Miata, but I wouldn't touch a Tribute, especially will the (scary) recalls it's already had.
Wheels falling off? C'mon, is this normal for a Mazda?
Also, it seems like we'll have fewer choices.
We'll trade our 626 in for a non-Mazda if the new one is basically a Ford (owning two of those in a life time is enough for me).
#500 of 2044 RE: ateixeira
Mar 26, 2001 (2:16 pm)
I guess the fact that the 626/MX-6/Probe were built on common platforms didn't scare you Juice. If you can get a hold of today's Automotive News, there is an excellent article on the topic. Their article makes it sound like Ford will be using Mazda's platform and not the other way around. As I said previously, there is engineering outside of Dearborn and Ford knows that.
#501 of 2044 Platform Sharing...
Mar 26, 2001 (2:29 pm)
I have heard a great many speculations on the platform future of many Mazda models. First off, I have to say that the 626 platform has served both Mazda AND Ford very well. The MPV is built on a modified 626 platform, as is the Tribute/Escape. Of course, in the past, the MX-6/Probe was built on the 626 platform. But, as good as it is, they do need to be updated from time to time.
Cross-platform sharing is something that should be done. The Jaguar S-Type and Lincoln LS are built on the same platform. The upcoming Jaguar X-Type is being built on the Ford Mondeo platform. The 1991-2000 Escorts were built on the Protege platform. The current Protege is built on the Mazda Capella platform, and the upcoming RX-8 will be built on a modified Miata platform. Cross-platform sharing reduces cost significantly. And just because two cars share the same platform, it doesn't mean they'll use the same engine.
Although I would love to blame the Tribute/Escape woes solely on Ford, I cannot. The Tribute/Escape are built on a Mazda platform, with most of their bodies and mechanicals designed by Mazda. The current MPV has gone through more than it's fair share of recalls, again a Mazda design with a Ford powerplant. One has to realize that these vehicles are all-new built in all-new factories with all-new equipment. Mistakes are expected, but not accepted. At least Ford/Mazda are recalling the vehicles right away, unlike some other companies which sit on the problems (GM and Mitsubishi come to mind) until a government agency forces them to take action.
From some of the more recent reports I have read, the new 626 will ride on an all-new platform and serve as a basis for the next redesign of the MPV and the upcoming Nextourer-based cross-over vehicle. Besides, even if the 626 moves to the Mondeo platform, it will be all the better for it. The current Mondeo platform is a world-class platform, as is the Focus. Mazda can still bolt-on their own engines and suspension to them.
#502 of 2044 Not a Mondeo...that's been ruled out
Mar 26, 2001 (2:48 pm)
Mar 26, 2001 (2:52 pm)
Could we bring back the 1993-1997 626? Unfortunately, I think Mazda made a mistake by going to the larger, softer, plusher, kinder 626 we have seen since '98. I liked the smaller, sportier, lighter 626. Oh, and can we have the MPS concept version from Europe? I remember something about all-wheel drive and a blown 2.5L with something like 275 horses galloping through a 6-spd manual transmission... Please....