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Mazda Lines Up Alfa, Toyota While Looking for More Alliance Partners

by on Jan.21, 2013

Mazda's new deal with Alfa will help both makers develop new sports cars - including a replacement for the current Mazda Miata.

Little Mazda is lining up some big partners.

Struggling to regain its footing after the collapse of its decades-old alliance with Ford Motor Co., the Japanese maker has been looking for new opportunities and, in recent months, it has inked several potentially lucrative deals that could help it flesh out its product portfolio and shore up its bottom line.

The latest deal pairs Mazda with Alfa Romeo, the struggling subsidiary of Italy’s Fiat SpA. Last week, the two confirmed that Mazda will use one of its Japanese assembly plants to produce a new sports car both for its own dealers as well as Alfa’s.

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Separately, Mazda has signed a deal with Toyota that will see the smaller maker produce vehicles for the Japanese giant at a new factory in Mexico.

“I think you’re going to see us do more alliances where it fits the brand,” Jim O’Sullivan, CEO of Mazda’s U.S. subsidiary, tells TheDetroitBureau.com.

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Mazda Will Keep Zoom-Zooming With New Agency

Popular image campaign will survive switch.

by on Aug.23, 2010

Think of Zoom-Zoom as part of Mazda's "DNA," says Jim O'Sullivan.

Though it’s abandoning its long-time advertising agency, don’t expect Mazda to walk away from the popular Zoom-Zoom tagline that has made the Japanese maker such a standout in the otherwise crowded automotive marketing space.

If anything, the familiar campaign — meant to position Mazda as a more performance-oriented marque among mainstream brands – will become even more critical, what with the Japanese carmaker looking to boost its American market share by as much as 50%.

“Zoom-Zoom is not going away,” Jim O’Sullivan, president of Mazda’s North American sales subsidiary, tells TheDetroitBureau.com.  “We’re not doing away with our creative and brand positioning,” despite the decision to leave the Detroit-based agency, Doner, for MindShare, a division of the global advertising powerhouse, WPP.  “It’s our DNA,” O’Sullivan contends.

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The decision to drop Doner came as something of a surprise considering the successful collaboration between the agency and automaker.  There’s been plenty of debate about why Mazda made the move, though O’Sullivan insists it was not driven by the corporate parent, in Japan.

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