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May 26, 2011 (9:45 am)
As much as some think Ford was bad for Mazda read and search the internet, Ford was not bad for Mazda.
I agree with you to a point. Unfortunately Ford played a big role in the launch of one of the most recalled vehicles in history, (even more so than the Chevy Citation I believe), the Escape, Also, rebadged as the Mazda Tribute. Stupid stuff like wheels falling off (Not steering wheels like the Chevy Snuze), leaking fuel lines, I think there was one for seats becoming detached, engine fires. etc... plagued the entire line for the first year anyway. Thankfully the capabilities, longterm reliability (after all the fixes) and the good, if not inoffensive looks made up for the first year glitches.
Then there was the B-series trucks which, while under Ford control were nothing more than Ford Rangers in America, while the rest of the world got actual Mazda designed trucks. "Power trip" maybe?
Lastly, Ford has more to thank with Mazda than the other way around when we review the successful Fusion triplets which are underpinned by a Mazda designed, Mazda 6/Atenza platform and a Mazda designed 4-cylinder as the base engine. Oh, and the platform also made its way under other Ford models like the Edge and MKX.
I, personally believe the two were a good match for each other. I also believe both of them brought much to the table over the years they were together, so I'm not going to agree with the assumption that Mazda is lost or is going to fall without Ford holding their hand for them down the road...
#1941 of 1996 Future may not be bright for the Mazda6
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Jun 03, 2011 (6:32 pm)
"Media accounts from Japan on Friday said Mazda Motor Corp. intends to conclude its joint-venture manufacturing operations with Ford Motor Co. at their assembly plant in Flat Rock, MI. Mazda still would not confirm the reports of long-rumored pullout at the plant, however, although the company said earlier this year it would announce by the middle of 2011 whether it would continue building the Mazda6 midsize sedan at Flat Rock, which also assembles the Mustang musclecar for Ford."
Mazda May Force Ford's Hand At Michigan Assembly Plant (AutoObserver)
Jun 29, 2011 (2:19 am)
Skyactiv, which is a whole range of engine, transmission, and even construction technologies, is Mazda's big hope at this point.
Looks like they are cashing out of the money losing flat rock plant, and instead will open one in Mexico to keep costs down.
I think that's a shame. I think the route to big success in the USA is to have your own plant--not one shared with someone else or in Mexico. I know it's only part of the puzzle, but look what built in America has done for Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and now Hyundai. They never would have gotten so big here without the built in USA label...
Still, Mazda might come back if these Skyactiv techs pay off as expected...
#1943 of 1996 what does mazda need to come back
Jul 26, 2011 (4:42 pm)
I'm worried about them...
Partner with deep pockets (BMW???)?
Will Skyactiv alone save them?
Jul 27, 2011 (4:35 am)
Fairly radical design change for this car, which is due out in about a year as a 2013 model. Looks quite sleek and racy. My 9 year old daughter likes it, and she's someone whose taste in cars I'm beginning to trust.
This has video of the Shinari concept vehicle driving on the streets of Japan. We can assume the production model will be slightly taller for more headroom and have slightly smaller wheels, but otherwise it looks like this is what they are going to build for this car. It will stand out, and even if Mazda's styling has been controversial with its demonic-grin Mazda3, you have to admit it's been a sales success for them.
The Shanari/Mazda6 will incorporate all of Mazda's Skyactiv technologies for engine, body, chassis, transmissions, etc. Weight should go down by c. 10% over the current Mazda6. And gas mileage should go up c. 20%. And so it should have class leading mpg of c.25 city and c.36 highway.
Production will be moved from Flat Rock to Japan. Supposedly this is more efficient for them, but I'm not sure that letting go of the made in USA label is a wise choice. I think they should do what other Asian makers have done and build their own stand-alone factory somewhere in the South. The subsidies for these factories are huge, as we all know.
But financially it's not clear Mazda can swing that. They lost money last year and their financial situation is not the strongest.
#1946 of 1996 more mazda videos
Jul 27, 2011 (8:37 am)
3 minute bio of chief styling designer for Mazda Kiuo Maeda:
Promo video of Mazda. Has nice shots of old rotary engines at the 2 minute mark. Says they started on Skyactiv around 2007. Their goal is eventually a 30% reduction in the weight of their cars. The video is a way too silly and touchy feely imho, but it does have some good info in it. Mazda's small size may, ironically, make it more nimble in terms of taking on engineering challenges. This one is called Sky is the Limit. It has a lot of talking head stuff with Kiyoshi Fujiwara, chief enginner at Mazda in charge of product planning. He's had a things for Mazdas since the Cosmo rotary sports car made in the late 60s when he was as little kid (it was kind of the Mazda Corvette, prelude to the original RX-7):
This one is called Romance in Engineering. Has some nice shots of Hiroshima, where my Mazda5 was made. It's focused on chief Mazda chassis engineer Seita Kanai. Talks about how the city rose from the ashes, and how that was inspiring. Weird past, present, future thing going on with a little kid building rockets and stuff, which is corny, but still there's good information here. Kanai was inspired by German cars that could cruise at 200kph (125mpg), compared to c. 170 kph for Japanese cars. He wanted to design a chassis that could do 200kph too. In 2006 they started setting ambitious goals for where they wanted to be by 2015.
#1947 of 1996 Re: the next Mazda6 [benjaminh]
Jul 27, 2011 (8:35 am)
I think they should do what other Asian makers have done and build their own stand-alone factory somewhere in the South.
IMHO, easier said than done. First, I don't think Mazda could justify the investment in a new plant vis a vis their NA sales. Second, it's not easy to close or leave a unionized plant and reopen in a non-union friendly area. I believe they would suffer consumer backlash doing something like that. IMHO, they should have built in the south like the other transplants originally but even back then they couldn't justify the investment of a stand alone facility.
#1949 of 1996 Re: the next Mazda6 [robr2]
Jul 28, 2011 (6:05 pm)
"... IMHO, they should have built in the south like the other transplants originally but even back then they couldn't justify the investment of a stand alone facility."
I sort of agree with you robr2. Looking back on it with 20/20 hindsight over the last 26 years this was a crucial failure of vision by Mazda that has cost them very dearly. My family bought a Mazda B2000 truck back in 1985. Mazdas were more common on the road then than they are today I'm pretty sure. I think total sales for Mazda back in 1985, counting cars and trucks, may have been as much as 200,000. About 100k of that was in that B2000 truck, I think. And when the all-new 1986 B2000 came out I really think it was the best of all of the Japanese small trucks at the time, and I think the auto mags said so too. Ours was very well built and reliable. And back then there was a 25% tariff on imported trucks. If they'd built a small factory somewhere in the South or Midwest, say about the size of Honda's very first in Ohio, which had a capacity for 150,000 when it first started, I think they could have well supported it mostly with just that great B2000 truck. And if they'd advertised the heck out of the made in usa label, like Honda and Toyota did, I think they might have been a strong 4th--right behind Nissan--in Japanese US sales today. I know it's all just guessing.
But Mazda seems like a company with brilliant flashes that makes solid cars, but just keeps missing out on the big time. And I worry that today, in the US anyway, not having a made in USA label might even be a kiss of death. I hope not! But just having great cars isn't enough to be a big player here.
Look at these sad stats for Mazda sales from 1995 to 2005. 283k sold in 1995 and 258k sold ten years later. I don't know what the stats are for 2010, but probably similar.
Mazda U.S. Sales
from an article from Forbes from about 5 years ago:
Jerry Flint, 05.02.06, 6:00 AM ET
New York -
Car writers love Mazda cars. Auto scribes praise Mazdas for their performance, ride, handling, looks and value. Only one problem: There has been no growth in Mazda sales for over a decade....