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Mazda or Scion or Fiat? Alliances Are Changing the Face of the Auto Industry

Automakers partner up to cut costs, expand product lines.

by on May.28, 2015

The new Mazda Miata was developed as part of a joint venture with Fiat.

When the new iA comes to Scion showrooms later this year, it will mark the first time Toyota’s youth-oriented brand has offered a sedan.

To bring it to market, Scion sought out some help, largely repurposing a 4-door model developed by smaller Japanese automaker Mazda. Toyota also will use the subcompact Mazda2 as the starting point for the next version of its small Yaris model – which will be assembled at a new Mazda plant in Mexico.

Stay on Top!

Confused? You’re not alone.  It takes more than just a scorecard to keep up with the convoluted alliances in today’s increasingly competitive auto industry. Hoping to add more models to their line-ups while at the same time driving down costs, traditional competitors are finding advantages to working together.


All-new Mazda2 Breaks Cover

Picks up Japanese maker’s latest design language.

by on Jul.18, 2014

The new 2016 Mazda2 debuted in Japan today.

We got our first hint of what’s to come during the Geneva Motor Show last March when Mazda rolled out the Hazumi concept vehicle. But now, the Japanese company is making it official with the formal roll-out of the new Mazda2 subcompact.

It marks a completely new look for the new model and suggests that Mazda is serious about gaining traction in the small car segment – which has been growing just about everywhere, including the U.S. For American buyers, the redesign might seem to be coming quickly, considering the Mazda2 has only been offered here since 2011. But what’s known as the Demio in Japan was last updated seven years ago and is now entering its fourth generation.

We're a Luxury You Can Afford!

Mazda isn’t ready to talk about the American version of the Mazda2/Demio, but in overseas trim it’s going to be sold with three different engine options, both 1.3-liter and a 1.5-liter gasoline packages and a 1.5-liter clean diesel. Both use the maker’s new SkyActiv technologies, including high compression and direct injection, to yield significantly better mileage than potential buyers might otherwise expect. (more…)

Hazumi Concept “Foreshadows” Maker’s Next Mazda2

Latest SkyActive design.

by on Mar.04, 2014

The new Hazumi Concept is expected to receive relatively minor tweaks before transforming into the next Mazda2.

Over the years, we have learned to pay close attention when Mazda rolls out a new concept vehicle.  Chances are that we’ll see the design again, as even the most extreme show cars tend to have a clear influence on the Japanese maker’s upcoming production models.

So it seems to be with the new Mazda Harumi Concept making its debut outing at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The little prototype is, according to the maker, a “foreshadowing” of what’s to come when it launches its next-generation Mazda2 minivar.

What a Concept!

In sharp contrast to some of its more conservative Asian rivals, Mazda has been pushing the limits of design and using its show cars to gauge both media and consumer reaction.  And if the Harumi is any indication, it could strike a responsive chord with those who’ve grown tired of the formula that has long contended that buyers on a budget must settle for bland and boring econoboxes.


Mazda Will Build New Small Car for Toyota

Mazda Mexico plant could prove replacement for Toyota Yaris.

by on Nov.09, 2012

Mazda will produce a small car based on this Mazda2 for Toyota.

Toyota plans to team up with erstwhile Japanese rival Mazda to produce a new small car that would either replace or share the mini-car market with the Japanese giant’s existing Yaris model.

The new model, the two makers today confirmed, will be based on the same platform as the little Mazda2 and will be produced at the factory Mazda is now building in Mexico.

The announcement underscores the shifting strategies redefining the auto industry. Long determined to do just everything on its own, Toyota has been rapidly inking an assortment of alliances with traditional competitors like Ford, BMW, and now Mazda.

Auto News From a Source You Trust!

For the smaller Japanese maker, the move could be equally significant.  The current Mazda2 was developed as part of a long-running alliance with Ford Motor Co. But the U.S. maker has steadily wound down that relationship since Alan Mulally signed on as CEO six years ago, leaving Mazda searching for a new partner.


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  “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.

Inside Insight!

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.


Mazda Reveals Plans for High-Mileage Powertrains

Japanese maker also sets price on pint-size 2011 Mazda2.

by on Mar.31, 2010

Better mileage, better performance, Mazda hopes new powertrains like the Sky-D diesel will help it cut global fuel consumption 30%.

With a goal of boosting its global fuel economy 30% by mid-decade, Mazda is under pressure to deliver – and fast.  And that prompted the Japanese maker to pull the wraps off its new line-up of advanced powertrains, dubbed Sky – “which means the sky’s the limit,” said CEO Takashi Yamanouchi.

These were first revealed last year at the Tokyo Motor Show in the Kiyora concept car.

A gasoline version, dubbed Sky-G, will be the first of the new engines to reach the U.S. market, the executive announced, during a news conference at the New York International Auto Show.  Though Yamanouchi was reluctant to provide many details, he hinted it would reduce fuel consumption 15%, even while delivering an equivalent, 15% boost in performance.

The Sky-G will make its world debut in the U.S. market, in 2011 – most likely in a mid-size model like the Mazda6.

A year later, it’s to be followed by the launch of the Sky-D, a new, high-efficiency diesel that Yamanouchi said would reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared to Mazda’s current, 2.2-liter diesel.  Perhaps as significant is the plan to introduce the Sky-D to the U.S.

Mazda appears to be favoring basic work on combustion efficiency, lightweight materials, and low friction engines and transmissions, while other companies, including now minority shareholder Ford, are pursuing more expensive forced induction designs with one or more turbochargers, or expensive plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles with $10,000 -$20,000 battery packs. (See Mazda Simplifies, as Ford Complicates for a more detail analysis.)


Los Angeles Auto Show Preview

Honda Coupe, Mazda 2, Ford Fiesta, among others, go public.

by on Dec.02, 2009


Mazda and Ford will both be debuting smallish "B" cars built from the same platform.

A shaken and still cautious automotive industry begins the North American auto show season at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

The organizers claim that 30 vehicles will make their World and North American debuts in Los Angeles.

World debuts are expected from manufacturers including Audi, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Porsche, and Toyota.

As the first North American auto show of the season in the world’s largest car market, Los Angeles will be a snapshot of ongoing industry challenges as the economy attempts to recover from the excesses of–  and ultimate collapse — the world’s  financial markets.

Electric and other so-called “green” vehicles are expected to have a significant public relations presence at this year’s show, with manufacturers showing all electric or plug-in concepts in a quest fto capture  abundant government subsidies and maybe, just maybe , some  real customers

Chevrolet will announce the first markets that the Volt EV– California among them of course — will appear in by late 2010. There will also be new small-car offerings with more fuel-efficient traditional gasoline or diesel powertains in abundance.

Show News!

Show News!

Some automakers, including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, will have a larger presence in Los Angeles compared to last year, when it was clear that both Chrysler and GM were in deep trouble and Ford, also less than healthy, wisely retrenched.

Both Chrysler and GM have since emerged from controversial taxpayer-financed bankruptcies and their success in the California market, which is dominated by the Japanese,  is absolutely necessary for survival.

Ford and GM will unveil world debuts, the small Ford Fiesta and the delayed but still significant Chevrolet Cruze, a replacement for the aging Cobalt.

GM President and CEO Fritz Henderson, scheduled  to deliver the  keynote presentation on the opening press day, was unceremoniously yanked and replaced by marketing head Bob Lutz , after Henderson was fired by Ed Whitacre,  GM’s government-appointed chairman on the eve of the show.

Lutz’s own future is in doubt as it is now clear that GM’s inbred management will be broomed in a cleanvsweep, sooner or later, by the U.S. Treasury, which via the taxpayers now owns loss-making GM.


Ford Fiesta was actually designed by Mazda.

Other debuts include:

  • Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT) design study — an ultra-compact, aggressively designed coupe.
  • Mazda2 – a small B-sized sub-compact that has been on sale elsewhere in the world for years
  • Ford Fiesta – the Ford version of the Mazda2