High-impact car awards don’t come very often. The last one we covered was the Japan Car of the Year Award in December, which went to the Mazda CX-5. Then there was last month’s Green Car Technology Award given to (again) Mazda for their SkyActiv technologies. However, the GCTOY award is very narrow in its scope, so it doesn’t have the same significance as one with industry-wide competition.
However, this week we get another high-impact, industry-defining award in the form of the US Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own Award.
You guessed it – Mazda. They took home the overall 2013 5-Year Cost to Own Award, while Lexus claimed the same award for the luxury class.
KBB also does segment-by-segment awards, and you’ll find several other Japanese cars among those winners. Let’s take a look:
- Scion (Toyota) iQ won the Subcompact Car segment.
- Mitsubishi Outlander won the Mid-Size SUV segment.
- Acura RDX took home the Luxury Compact segment.
- Lexus GS won the Luxury Car category.
- Toyota Tacoma won the Mid-Size Pickup segment.
- Mazda5 won the Minivan segment.
- Toyota Highlander (Kluger) Hybrid won the Hybrid SUV segment.
- Honda Insight won the overall Alternative Energy segment.
Aside from the overall award, you can see that Mazda actually only won one segment. So why did they end up on top? To understand the answer to that question, you need to know what KBB looks at when determining the 5-Year Cost to Own Award.
You might assume that KBB’s cost-analysis is primarily based on value-depreciation. While this is certainly a factor, it is only one of many. According to the press release, KBB also looks at “expected fuel costs, finance and insurance fees, maintenance and repair costs, and state fees for new models.” In other words, they’re taking into consideration any and every cost associated with a given vehicle over the first five years of ownership.
KBB elaborates on Mazda’s victory by pointing out that “despite an average Fair Purchase Price higher than several of its competitors, Mazda offers the lowest 5-Year Cost to Own because of its low depreciation, fuel costs, and maintenance and repair costs across its full model lineup.” A pretty impressive judgment coming from the most prominent automotive financial experts in the world.
With this award I think it’s safe to say that Mazda is on an undeniable hot-streak. Thanks to their newly-integrated SkyActiv technologies it’s no surprise that they came out on top. While the rest of the industry thumbs their nose at Mazda’s simple-minded goals – I mean, they don’t even have a luxury brand! – this same simple-minded dedication to reliable and efficient cars is continuing to pay off in spades. Japanese cars did very well in this year’s Cost to Own Award, but there is no doubt that 2013 is the year of Mazda – mark my words!
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