Posts Tagged ‘cx-5’

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Mazda CX-5

Posted by Stephen On Friday, February 20th, 2015

Yesterday we talked about the GC-PHEV Concept that Mitsubishi re-brought to the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. That car supposedly holds styling cues that will be seen in the upcoming Mitsubishi Outlander facelift. However, while the Outlander and Outlander Sport have both suffered from weak sales in the past five years, another car in the same segment has surged in popularity. That car is the Mazda CX-5, a 2014 model of which is pictured here:

2014 Mazda CX-5

Honestly, even though this car is a year old, you could compare it admirably to just about all of today’s 2015 models. And there’s a reason it sits #2 on US News Best Affordable Compact SUVs list – it’s a well-made SUV with the best of all worlds. It’s sporty; it’s efficient; it’s fun and stylish… It’s everything! And believe it or not, the 2014MY actually got higher editorial ratings than the 2015MY, mostly because it was still relatively new at the time.

But let’s take a closer look…

2014 Mazda CX-5 Liquid Silver

What we have here is a Liquid Silver 2014 Mazda CX-5 4WD XD. This particular find is one of the higher trim models with an upgraded 2.2L two-stage turbocharged SKYACTIV-D diesel engine, which can be driven with either 147 bhp or 173 bhp, depending on driving mode. Yes, a diesel! Diesels are very unusual in Japan, but the CX-5 is an exception with its very clean Skyactiv tech. Its upgraded engine is paired with an optional six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

As a 2014MY, this would be the second year that Mazda’s incredibly potent SKYACTIV technology suite was on the market. The engine listed above allows the Mazda CX-5 to achieve the best non-hybrid fuel economy in the compact crossover segment, with up to 52 mpg for the front-wheel drive version of the car. As an AWD model, the CX-5 showcased here will do a bit worse in the efficiency department in favor of a more reliable drive.

2014 Mazda CX-5 interior

It’s plain to see why the SKYACTIV-D Mazda CX-5 won the 2012-13 Japan Car of the Year Award. Its exterior styling is standout, and it’s incredibly efficient. The black cloth interior is a little plainer, but it’s spacious and rich with all the standard amenities needed for a crossover to thrive on today’s market. One-touch power windows, built-in navigation and infotainment on a 7-inch touchscreen, USB connection and automatic air conditioning, just to name a few.

This 2014 Mazda CX-5 is a particularly well-Japanese car auction find with a B-grade interior and exterior and an overall rating of 5. For more details, keep reading below the auction sheet for a full translation:

2014 Mazda CX-5 auction sheet

“Interior B, exterior condition B, first registered May 2014, XD model, 4WD, FAT, AAC, one owner, original navigation system witn digital TV and rear view reversing camera, smart city braking support, interior rear view mirror blind spot monitor, HID headlights, AFS, cruise control, parking sensors at front and rear, diesel engine, LDA emissions code, interior grime, scratches and dents and light scratches, marks as per map”

Mazda CX-3 Debuts in LA w/ New CX-5 & Mazda6

Posted by Stephen On Friday, November 21st, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen… The 2014 LA Auto Show is finally here!

To kick off our coverage, we’re going to look at everything that Mazda has brought to arguably the largest remaining automotive event in 2014. As you continue reading, you’ll learn about Mazda’s all-new CX-3 compact crossover, their makeover for the 2016MY Mazda6 and their refresh for the CX-5.

Mazda CX-3 Compact Crossover

2016 Mazda CX-3

First up, we have Mazda’s entry into the compact crossover segment, otherwise known as the Nissan Juke bandwagon. Even though it’s a highly competitive class of vehicles, you can see here that the segment’s top dogs shouldn’t underestimate Mazda’s newest offering. Even without Mazda’s mechanical prowess, this is one sharp-looking crossover.

The Mazda CX-3 is built on the same platform as the award-winning Mazda2. They’ve expanded the hatchback’s body to match crossover proportions with an extra 21.5cm length and 5.5cm height. Meanwhile, the interior cabin bears closer resemblance to the 2, although the extra size keeps the CX-3 feeling like an SUV behind the wheel.

2016 Mazda CX-3 interior

The CX-3 will be offered in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. Mazda hasn’t given us specific details about the available powertrains, but we do know that there’ll be a 2.0L petrol in the US and a 1.5L diesel in other markets.

For more information about the new Mazda CX-3, read Mazda’s official press release.

Mazda CX-5 Crossover

2015 Mazda CX-5

Shown alongside the all-new Mazda CX-3 is the new compact’s older brother – the 2016 Mazda CX-5. All in all, Mazda didn’t do a whole lot to this car… It’s a great SUV that really didn’t need much updating, and they certainly wouldn’t want to detract from the CX-3’s debut. Still, there are a few noteworthy changes:

Outside, the front grille has been tightened up, and Mazda says they’ve tried to enhance the eye-like look of the headlights to “heighten the car’s look of vitality.”

2016 Mazda CX-5 interior

Inside, the biggest change is a 10% improvement in NVH – noise, vibration and harshness – on rough roads. With new safety features like Mazda Radar Cruise Control and Smart Brake Support, drivers of the 2016 Mazda Cx-5 should feel more comfortable and more confident than ever before.

2016 Mazda6 Sedan

2016 Mazda6 Sedan

As one of the first cars to get fitted with Mazda’s Kodo design language, the sedan has had its current exterior mostly unchanged for the past three years. Thus, this update is mostly aesthetic. You can see that the grille has been updated with new chrome bars, restyled LED lamps both up front and in the back, a shark fin antenna, and two new colors to choose from (Titanium Flash Mica, Sonic Silver Metallic). Mazda also refinished the 19-inch aluminum twin-spoke alloys with a darker gunmetal tint.

Under the hood, Mazda has embraced their KISS mentality by offering just one 2.5L petrol powertrain option for the 2016 model year. It currently looks like the only state of tune offered will be at 184hp.

2016 Mazda6 Sedan interior

Inside, just like in the Mazda CX-5, Mazda quieted the 6’s interior by 10% on rough roads, and a full 25% on smoothly paved highways or city streets. The sedan also gets the same upgraded i-Activsense safety suite. Unlike the CX-5, though, the Mazda6 gets a new Electrical Parking Brake (EPB), making it the first car in Mazda’s lineup to receive such a feature.

All-New Mazda2 Claims Japan’s Car of the Year Award

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

2015 Mazda2 Demio

Thanks to the recent Paris Motor Show, we’ve spent the past two weeks talking about all the new Japanese cars we can expect to see over the next couple of years. Today, we’re going to continue in that direction by celebrating the newly announced recipient for the 2014-2015 Japanese Car Of The Year award.

This year’s recipient?

The all-new 2015 Mazda2, otherwise known as the Mazda Demio in the automaker’s home market where the hatchback has already launched.

This is excellent news for rogue Japanese automaker, Mazda. Their newly redesigned supermini hasn’t even hit European or American shores yet, and already it’s winning awards thanks to its simple-but-efficient SkyActiv technology and suave Kodo – Spirit of Motion design language.

Japan’s Car of the Year was decided at the National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation in Tokyo Bay.

Throughout the day, it was looking like the Mercedes C-class would come out on top, but in the final stretch Mazda’s city car managed to pull ahead with 423 points compared to Mercedes’ 404. Both cars came out above the third place BMW i3, which ended the day with 340 votes, and the top three were all head and shoulders above the rest… The fourth place Subaru Levorg had just 124 votes then polls closed.

Here’s how the judging works:

  1. 60 automotive experts and journalists from around Tokyo Bay are given 25 points to vote with.
  2. Each judge must give their first choice 10 points, and no more than 10 points can be allocated to any choice.
  3. The car with the most points at the end of the day wins!

Fun fact: Some quick math will tell you that 600 is the maximum points a car can receive. The closest any car ever came to getting max points was last year when the VW Golf got 504/600.

2015 Mazda2 Demio Interior

For those who don’t remember, this is the second time in three years that one of Mazda’s new SkyActiv cars has won Japan’s prestigious Car of the Year award. In 2012, the Mazda CX-5 won the award over the Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT-86 twins. It was the first-ever car Mazda released with their SkyActiv suite and Kodo design language.

Of course, Mazda knows what they did right to win the award yet again. At the event, Mazda EVP Kiyoshi Fujiwara said, “With the Mazda 2, we have rewritten the rulebook for compact cars. Our new SkyActiv technology, excellent mileage, reasonable pricing and unique design all contributed to our victory today.”

Consider this a reminder to keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming 2015 Mazda2 when it hits North American and European shores early next year.

Nissan Juke-Rivaling Mazda CX-3 Could Come by 2015

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5

2014 Mazda CX-5

What if you could see a Nissan Juke remade from the ground up with Mazda’s award-winning SKYACTIV technology and Kodo design language?

We’ve been hearing rumors of a Mazda CX-3 for a while now, but this is the first time we’ve heard an official reference to the car. It comes via an interview between The Motor Report and Martin Benders of Mazda Australia.

Basically, the interview confirmed one thing: Mazda is definitely interested in the compact crossover segment. They are officially gearing up to jump on the Nissan Juke bandwagon. Benders elaborated, saying, “There is opportunity there [in the compact SUV segment], absolutely. We’ve made it clear that it’s an area we’d like to be represented in.”

In the interview, The Motor Report used a bit of psychological trickery to pry a little more info out of the Mazda Australia boss. They bemoaned the fact that all previous rumors indicated a distant launch date for the CX-3, prompting Benders to say, “Oh, it’s not that far away.”

Brilliant, The Motor Report, simply brilliant! This means we can probably expect the Mazda CX-3 as early as next year, perhaps as a 2016 model year. This would fit with Mazda’s previous commitment to launching five new SKYACTIV models by the end of 2016.

As you can probably guess, the new CX-3 would fit into the Japanese automaker’s lineup right below the Mazda CX-5, and would likely share much of its design with the larger SUV. However, it’s looking like Mazda will take the CX-3’s platform and powertrain options from the new Mazda2. Previous rumors suggested that the crossover would share its design with the new hatchback too, but this report implies that Mazda will maintain a rugged SUV feel with the car’s design.

If the Mazda CX-3 does in fact make it to production with the Mazda2’s powertrains, that’ll mean drivers will choose between a 1.5L SKYACTIV-G petrol and a 1.5L SKYACTIV-D diesel (depending on the market). No further powertrain options have been hinted at, but it wouldn’t surprise us if Mazda teased a sportier engine option closer to the crossover’s launch date. That’d be a great way to build some extra hype.

Either way, compact crossovers make up one of the fastest growing segments on the market, so it’s no wonder that Mazda is anxious to get a competitor out on the field. And, it explains why they’d leak this new timeline information to TMR. All in all, we’re thrilled to hear that the Mazda CX-3 is “not that far away,” and we’ll definitely keep you updated as we learn more.

Thanks for reading!

Mazda CX-5 Closes in on 100,000 Units per Year, CX-3 Incoming

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Throughout 2013, we were eager to point out what a great position Mazda was in. All of their most recent vehicles have received stellar reviews (eg. the new Mazda3 and Mazda CX-5) thanks to their breathtaking design and efficient SkyActiv technology suite.

Well, it turns out, we were right, and the numbers most clearly show it when you look at sales of the Mazda CX-5: During 2013, Wards Auto reports that 79,544 of Mazda’s redesigned CUVs rolled off US dealership lots, an 83% improvement over 2012. Mazda NA CEO Jim O’Sullivan believes that the Japanese automaker will keep the CX-5 snowball rolling in 2014, and hopes to break through the 100,000 units-sold mark before the year is up. That would put it officially into the top tier of CUVs, sharing company with other six-figure vehicles like the RAV4, Rogue and CR-V.

According to O’Sullivan, this staggering increase in sales – which extends across much of their lineup – is due to a number of contributing factors. Improved brand awareness in the US, a favorable yen-dollar currency conversion, a growing automotive industry, and of course a new Mazda plant in Salamanca, Mexico have all helped Mazda reach new heights of success.

But, there’s more…

Mazda is also reportedly looking to expand their SUV lineup with a new competitor in the compact crossover category. This new crossover would apparently slot in right below the Mazda CX-5, and thus be named the Mazda CX-3. It would also likely be based on the next-gen Mazda2 city car, a new version of which we’ll see before the end of Q2 (possibly in Geneva).

This report comes from the Japanese financial newspaper, Nikkei, and although Mazda has gone on the record calling the story “purely speculative”, the prospect of a Mazda CX-3 makes sense. In fact, if you look back to 2012 at an interview between CarAdvice and a Mazda official you’ll find the following quote: “We are now developing a more compact SUV [than the CX-5] – more for Europe and we must imagine emerging markets [such as] Eastern Europe, South America, India, etc.”

Furthermore, in the recent interview with Wards Auto, O’Sullivan explains that “We’re seeing really good, organic growth from our current-generation Mazda3 customers that have bought maybe (the old compact) Protege, then Mazda3, (and) now (are) moving into crossovers and the CX-S …[A smaller CUV] is something Mazda is always looking at. For us, we think there’s growth in small crossovers.”

Unfortunately, our current information indicates that if the Mazda CX-3 eventually does come to be, it will start its life in Japan-only, and only then would it be transferred throughout Europe. There is no indication anywhere that the US will ever see the CX-3, although it would seem like a waste. And, we already know that the new 2015 Mazda2 will be built primarily in the Mexico plant, so it would make sense that a Mazda2-based vehicle would also be built there.

Either way, we’re all stuck sitting on our hands for now. We’re really at the mercy of Mazda on this one, but hopefully we will learn more about the potential Mazda CX-3 when we see the Mazda2 city car, ideally at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. Until then, thanks for reading!

Upcoming Demio (Mazda2) to Utilize CX-5’s Skyactiv Platform?

Posted by Stephen On Monday, June 3rd, 2013

The current Demion (Mazda2 outside Japan) is long overdue for a replacement. Originally released all the way back in 2007, the compact hatchback hasn’t seen an update since the recession. While the Demio is still a fine car, the hatchback segment has only become more competitive over the past six years, and an outdated model just isn’t going to cut it any longer. Plus, 2007 is before we’d even heard whispers of Mazda’s now-highly-acclaimed Skyactiv technology.

Speaking of Skyactiv, the Mazda CX-5 was the first vehicle built with the basic components of the hyper-efficient platform architecture. The Mazda6 was next, and it was built from the ground up to leverage the Skyactiv technology suite. Now, according to “a spokesperson for [Mazda’s] UK importer,” just-auto reports that the Mazda2 will take a unique approach from both the CX-5 and the Mazda6 – it’s simply going to use the same platform as the CX-5.

Mazda CX-5

Now, readers with a working knowledge of geometry will note that the proportions of a compact hatchback are significantly smaller than those of a crossover SUV. Obviously, there’s going to be some pretty serious adjustments involved in porting the CX-5’s Skyactiv platform into the Mazda2’s much smaller dimensions. However, there are significant benefits to doing so.

For example, borrowing the CX-5’s platform will allow the Mazda2 to utilize the same “modules and powertrains” as the crossover. This means development savings for Mazda, and since the CX-5 has been so well-received anyways, it makes sense to leverage pre-existing engineering for the next Skyactiv car. They can’t build every single one from the ground up.

In addition, if the CX-5’s platform can be adjusted to fit the much smaller Mazda2, then the Japanese brand can take a similar approach with all their other FWD vehicles in need of Skyactiv updating. If they can do it for the Demio, there’s no reasons they couldn’t make similar adjustments for the Mazda8 minivan, the Mazda3 sedan, the CX-9 crossover or the rumored CX-3 crossover.

Mazda Takes a Cue From Millward Brown

Last week, we discussed the results of a Millward Brown study that demonstrated the benefits of frequently releasing new vehicles. In short, the automakers who released the most cars in 2012 also experienced the most growth (relatively speaking).

So, from here on out there’ll be no more of this “no updates for seven years” nonsense from Mazda. According to just-auto, Mazda plans to adopt a strict four-year lifecycle with almost all of their vehicles. They’re also planning to begin refreshing all models at the two year mark, so a car never sits stagnant for more than two years at a time. Seems like a smart move.

All in all, I’m happy to hear about these developments from Mazda. You can tell that they’ve taken heart from their recent success with Skyactiv, and its refreshing to hear an air of confidence from an underdog Japanese car brand. It’ll be interesting to see how the Mazda2 turns out… I suspect it’ll have a big impact on how Mazda decides to implement their Skyactiv platform in the future. Either way, we’ll have more information coming before the end of the year, so stay tuned.

Sources: Car Scoops, Just-Auto

The Mazda CX-5’s Potential for Success

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Last week we wrote about how Mazda’s SkyActiv suite was crowned Green Technology of the Year by Green Car Journal. In that article, we talked about some of Mazda’s other recent achievements, such as winning Japanese Car of the Year on the back of their 2012 Mazda CX-5.

With all of this recent press, today seemed like a good day to actually spend some time talking about one of Mazda’s cars instead of one of their awards. Naturally, we chose the 2013 Mazda CX-5.

A Little Bit of Background

Mazda has made several attempts to crack the compact SUV segment, and has thus far been completely unsuccessful. We were originally introduced to the Mazda CX-5 late in 2011 as the first vehicle to include the full suite of SkyActiv technologies, as well as the Kodo design language.

The CX-5 replaced the Mazda Tribute and the Mazda CX-7, both of which had lackluster performance at best.

Last Year’s Performance – Above Expectations

Last year 43,319 CX-5’s were driven off of American dealerships, and that was a number Mazda was very, very happy with. Even though the CX-5’s numbers look puny compared to the 281k sales of Honda’s CR-V and the 171k sales of Toyota’s RAV4, by the end of the year the 2012 CX-5 accounted for 16% of Mazda’s total US sales-volume even without any sales in January or most of February.

Only 10 months available and more sales than almost any other vehicle in their lineup? Not too shabby. This year the Mazda CX-5 is poised to do even better.

Why 2013 Will Be a Good Year for the Mazda CX-5

Yes, there are still skeptics (ahem, TTAC) who will point out that even as Mazda’s second best-selling vehicle in 2012, it was still only the 15th best-selling small SUV. But, to those skeptics I say: you’re missing the point. The snowball is rolling… The train is building up its steam. Already in January the Japanese-made small SUV has sold the second most units of any other month; December 2012 unsurprisingly sold the most (being Christmas and bargain season both).

Not only have sales been great, but reviews of the 2013 CX-5 have been nothing but phenomenal across the board. We’re seeing multiple auto-reviewers rave about the Japanese car’s exquisite styling, impressive fuel economy, improved driving dynamics and relevant suite of features. Reviewers rejoice that the CX-5 now allows for a more powerful 2.5L version that fills in the performance-void the 2012MY was missing.

Mazda has finally hit their mark — this is a car that can compete.

Because of the 2012 Mazda CX-5’s relatively excellent sales and the 2013 CX-5’s praise-filled reviews, my guess is that this is yet another Japanese compact SUV you should get used to seeing on the streets. By the end of the year, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the CX-5 surpass the Subaru Forester in sales and claim a spot in the top 10 best-selling small SUVs for 2013.

What do you think? Does the 2013 version of the CX-5 bring enough to the table to compete with the big names in its segment? Why or why not? Let us know below:

Sources: Car and Driver, Good Car Bad Car

Mazda CX-5 Crowned Japan’s Car of the Year

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

As fall slowly turns into winter, it becomes that time of the year when the nice are rewarded and the naughty are forgotten. This year it appears that the nicest of them all is the Mazda CX-5, and by a wide margin, too. Japan’s Car of the Year (JCOTY) award is one of the most prestigious recognitions that an automotive manufacturer can attain, and the Mazda CX-5 took the crown for 2012-2013 with a hefty 15% more votes than the jointly developed second place car – the Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ.

Mazda CX-5

For a car to be considered for the 2012-13 JCOTY it must have been released between November 1, 2011 and October 31, 2012. To give you a more specific breakdown of which cars the Mazda CX-5 was up against, the top five cars in contention for the JCOTY were as follows:

1st with 363 votes – Mazda CX-5
2nd with 318 votes – Toyota GT 86/Subaru BRZ 318
3rd with 282 votes – BMW 3-series
4th with 218 votes – Range Rover Evoque
5th with 152 votes – Volkswagen Up!

SkyActiv Proves Its Worth

This award could not have come at a better time for Mazda. Earlier this month, CEO Takashi Yamanouchi claimed that he expected Mazda to hit a 43% sales increase by 2016, and that he expected to achieve that goal primarily on the back of Mazda’s new SkyActiv technologies and Kodo design language. Sure enough, the Mazda CX-5 is the first car to see production with the full suite of SkyActiv technologies, so winning the JCOTY is an enormous confirmation of the Japanese manufacturer’s direction.

There is no doubt that the fuel efficiency and handling afforded by SkyActiv is what allowed the Japanese compact crossover to so handily outrank the competition. As Kiyoshi Fujiwara, one of the driving forces behind SkyActiv development, said after the results were announced, “In the early days of SkyActiv development, I had a lot of opposition from colleagues suggesting this technology was not the answer. But we stayed true to our goals, and here we are today, fully recognized by the COTY jurors.”

And if the acclaim afforded by receiving Japan’s most sought-after automotive award weren’t enough, the sales figures for the Mazda CX-5 should more than do the trick. Mazda has sold over 128,000 of the crossovers around the world since going on sale in February of this year, enough for the Japanese manufacturer to have ramped up production by 20% from the initial 200,000 units per year.

The last time that Mazda won Japan’s COTY was in 2005–2006 with the Mazda MX-5 (Miata), and before that was the 1982-1983 award with the Mazda Capella. This is only the fourth time ever that the Japanese manufacturer has won the award, but I have to say that with their focus on innovation and engaging design,  I wouldn’t be surprised to see them receiving another before the next five years are up.

Congratulations Mazda!

Source: Autoblog

Mazda Targeting 43% Sales Increase in the US By 2016

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Mazda has historically been a brand that, while certainly drawing its fair share of enthusiasts, lacked the mass-market appeal of the big Japanese car manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda. Naturally, this lack of popularity has slowly but surely pushed an otherwise high quality Japanese brand (#4 in reliability according to Consumer Reports) into a desperate position with a slim 2% global share of the market.

But don’t discount Mazda just yet. As British Prime minister Benjamin Disraeli said, “Desperation is sometimes as powerful an inspiration as genius.” And clearly Mazda Motor Corp. CEO Takashi Yamanouchi is inspired. Last week he told Automotive News that his goal is to boost US sales an astronomical 43% by 2016.

Now, if you’ve followed Mazda’s marketing for the past 20 years, then you’ll remember that in the early 90’s Mazda attempted to circumvent their dwindling sales with Amati. Just like Acura/Honda or Lexus/Toyota, Amati was intended to be a “luxury brand” that would allow Mazda to attract not necessarily a bigger share of the market, but a more profitable one. The thing is, no cars were ever actually manufactured under Amati.

Fast forward 20 years. Mazda is still a relatively cash-strapped underdog, and they’re still determined to shift their market upwards to “Japan premium”. Better than “Japan economical”, I suppose, but the question is: what are they doing differently this time around? What is going to separate the next three years from the past 20?

Two Words: “SkyActiv” and “Kodo”

Technically speaking, the most noteworthy differences will be in the ever-improving SkyActiv technologies which are aimed to be included in 80% of Mazda’s fleet by 2016. These new cutting-edge technologies are aimed to advance the brand closer to premium appeal with improvements that increase performance and minimize environmental impact. See this year’s Mazda CX-5 hit crossover for an initial sample of what SkyActiv is intended to bring to the brand.

Another obstacle to “Japan premium” status that has always plagued Mazda is a lack of concern for style. They’ve always driven well, but typically from the inside their cars seem both noisy and, to be frank, ugly. That’s why Mazda is introducing the Kodo (Japanese for “soul of motion”) design language in addition to the SkyActiv technologies. Their goal with Kodo is to include more high-end materials in the part of the car that customers notice most, and to generally sleek-ify their cars’ silhouettes. Ideally, Kodo-themed designs will help Mazda more easily capture the eyes of their new “Japan premium” target market with a definitively luxurious aesthetic.

The Customer is Just as Important as the Car

Beyond the technical improvements, Yamanouchi seems to have a very clear path laid out as he said: “It’s about being a brand that has a strong bond with the customer.”

In other words, Mazda is looking to take their admittedly small sliver of highly loyal customers in the US and expand both outwards and upwards. So, even though Mazda is in the process of initiating production at a new $500 million factory in Mexico, they don’t want to pump that influx of new cars into new dealerships. Instead, Mazda is going to emphasize dealer-loyalty with increased earnings instead of more sales outlets. This will in turn enable Mazda to more tightly focus on improving customer service across the board, a key step towards successful repositioning.

Ultimately, it’s hard to judge whether or not these new changes that Mazda is bringing to the table will actually make a difference in their sales volume. Einstein once said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” There is a definite danger that Mazda’s failed brand-maneuvers in the past are going to repeat themselves in the short future. Mazda certainly has the motivation to succeed, but only time will tell whether or not their motivation is pointed in the right direction.

Source: AutoNews

Mazda Better Off Without Ford? Maxda CX-5 v. Ford Escape

Posted by Stephen On Friday, October 26th, 2012

A recent Autoblog test has the 2013 Maxda CX-5 up against the 2013 Ford Escape in a battle which pits the two former partners in a head-to-head battle. In fact, before Mazda built the new CX-5, the only in-class small crossover vehicle they had was the Tribute – basically a rebranded version of the Escape itself.

Since these two car makers have parted ways, all that has now changed. In fact, Mazda has developed an entirely new platform for the CX-5 and has thrown in some real Kryponite in the form of it’s super-frugal Skyactiv engine tech. However, there is one similarity: they both debuted last November at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

So what conclusions can we draw from this about Mazda’s long-term future in a post-Ford world?

Back-to-Back: CX5 and Escape

The Ford vehicle is emphasizing style with its European look and design. The Mazda CX-5, on the other hand, focuses on fuel efficiency and lightness. In fact, not only does the CX-5 stack up very well with the new Escape it also weighs in at 230 pounds less. Pair that with Skyactiv and the CX-5 has a potent fuel economy argument that the Escape will find it hard to match.

Then there is comfort. Testers found that the CX-5 has a much smoother ride. The gear changes are also slick, unlike the Escape, which oftentimes seems like it is “hunting” to find the optimal gear, and then downshifts when all you really needed was maybe a bit of extra torque thrust. And it’s the same story in the steering department with the CX-5 again having the upper hand.

CX-5: Sign That Mazda Will Survive?

There is no doubt, then, that the CX-5 gives you real substance. While the Ford has style, the Mazda has it beaten in every meaningful area. And the CX-5 is hardly dowdy anyway. You can see a healthy does of Mazda’s secret “zoom zoom” sauce in the lines.

So the CX-5 is a big win for Mazda at a time when the company has been losing money hand over fist in Japan. This direct comparison shows that it is better off without its American partner. What it really needs to do now is convert the increasingly promising efforts of its engineers into real money makers.

The long-term question will be this: Will Mazda end up following in the tire tracks of successful former Ford stablemate Jaguar, or will they end up on the scrap heap that was the unfortunate fate of former GM subsidiary Saab.

Only time will tell. But no one can accuse the product development teams of not putting in a great effort.