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Mazda6 Gets Makeover for 2016

Mazda shows off refreshed flagship sedan in LA.

by on Nov.19, 2014

The 2016 Mazda6 gets a refresh for the first time in four years. The sedan gets an updated front grille, headlamps and new signature wing design.

Mazda’s been making news lately with the Miata as well as its all-new CX-3 small sport-ute, but lost in the shuffle is a quiet, but much-needed refresh of its flagship sedan, the Mazda6.

Introduced in 2012, the new 6 builds on its “KODO” design that came with the car’s introduction. This updated look for the exterior starts with a new front grille and “signature wing design” with new LED headlamps that the industry has been shifting to for several years now. The redo aims to give the new 6 a “deeper, stronger design expression,” according to the automaker.

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The look is accented with 19-inch aluminum wheels with high-gloss paint that adopts a darker color that emphasizes the brightness and greater depth of its metallic look. The line-up of nine body colors includes the newly developed Sonic Silver Metallic and Titanium Flash Mica, which was first introduced on Mazda3. (more…)

Mazda Planning to Introduce New Diesel in 2015

Mazda6 gets the new powerplant: a company first.

by on Nov.22, 2013

The Mazda6 gets a diesel starting next spring.

After seeing its sales surge this year, Mazda is looking forward to another sold year of growth in 2014 by adding diesel power to its product line for the first time. The diesel-powered Mazda6 will join the maker’s lineup next spring, which is later than many observers had expected.

But James O’Sullivan, Mazda North America president and chief executive officer, explained the company elected to focus its marketing muscle on the Mazda3 first.

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The marketing campaign for the Mazda3 will start in earnest with a wave of in-theater advertising during the Christmas holiday season. Television commercials will follow after that, O’Sullivan said. (more…)

Mazda Previews SEMA Concepts

But mum’s the word when it comes to details.

by on Oct.29, 2013

Mazda sources have slipped over images of a handful of concepts coming to the SEMA Show.

We’ve been receiving plenty of preview material on the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the annual aftermarket extravaganza likely to see 100 or more custom concepts from the major automakers – and even a few new production vehicles with Honda, notably, planning to unveil its updated 2014 Civic line.

But considering Mazda’s propensity for creative design we were excited to receive a packet of four images that, sources said, revealed the four concepts that will land on the Japanese maker’s SEMA stand.

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Unfortunately, our leaker reversed the normal course, providing pics with nary a word of what they reveal beyond differentiating between the Mazda3 and Mazda6 SEMA specials.

What’s to make of what we have in hand?  Well, to start with, one might note that after downplay its “zoom-zoom” tagline for a couple years, Mazda has begun replaying that familiar theme in its latest advertising.  No surprise.  (more…)

Mazda Struggling to Meet Demand as Sales Surge

Japanese maker boosts production, waits for Mexican plant to open.

by on Sep.19, 2013

The 2014 Mazda3 is the maker's newest model to use Skyactive technology and the Kodo design language.

Mazda sales are surging, but short supplies of key vehicles are holding back the Japanese automaker’s growth in the U.S. market, officials claim.

The maker’s strong gains counter concerns that Mazda might face serious problems after the break-up of the little Japanese maker’s long-running alliance with Ford Motor Co. But several recent products have clicked well with U.S. consumers, and Mazda posted its best August U.S. sales in 10 years by selling 28,106 vehicles last month.

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Through August, sales were up 6.8%, barely keeping pace with overall growth in the U.S. auto market, however, and a dip from the 26.4% jump in Mazda’s volume in 2012. That slip is linked to challenges delivering enough product to the U.S., according Jeremy Barnes, Mazda North American Operations director of marketing and communications.


Mazda Adds Zoom-Zoom to the Assembly Line

"Mother plant" in Hofu churns out Mazda6 sedan at a prodigious pace.

by on Aug.28, 2013

Mazda6 sedans roll down the Hofu line.

It’s long billed itself as the “zoom-zoom” car company, but it’s not the performance of products like the little Mazda roadster or the new Mazda6 sedan that has the Japanese maker crowing this week.

Expected by some industry observers to face serious problems after the break-up of its long-running relationship with Ford Motor Co., Mazda had been delivering plenty of surprises lately, including a solid profit for the most recent quarter.

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And the maker says a key ingredient has been finding a way to ramp up the speed of its key assembly plant in Hofu to a pace even competitors like Toyota have to admire and envy. The nearly 31-year-old Hofu plant — which celebrated the production of its 10 millionth vehicle this week – is now rolling them off the line at an industry-leading rate of one every 54 seconds.

By comparison, Toyota Motor Corp., whose manufacturing system has long been considered an industry benchmark, takes anywhere from 57 to 115 seconds to roll out a new vehicle.


First Drive: 2014 Mazda6

A standout in a crowded segment.

by on Feb.05, 2013

Mazda's new 2014 Mazda6 sedan.

It’s a great year for consumers looking to buy a midsize sedan.  The market is awash with brand new offerings from manufacturers like Ford, Chevrolet Honda and Nissan, never mind still-fresh entries from Toyota and the Korean makers.

Imagine the challenge for a smaller brand, like Mazda, just to get noticed.  But the Japanese maker has come up with the sort of package that should guarantee it some attention from smart shoppers looking for a mix of striking design, solid mileage and spirited driving.

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Handsome, economical and fun to drive, the 2014 Mazda6 doesn’t disappoint, we discovered during our first drive of the new sedan,

Simply put, the exterior styling is gorgeous, delivering a refined and sophisticated interpretation of the maker’s aggressive new styling language first seen on the well-reviewed Takeri concept vehicle revealed at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show – which itself borrowed heavily from Mazda’s so-called Kodo, or Soul of Motion, design language.


Mazda SkyActiv Diesel’s Trial By Fire

A tankful of chicken guts?

by on Jan.24, 2013

Mazda's new diesel racer will get its first trial by fire at Daytona this weekend.

Mazda hopes ride a tankful of chicken guts, beef tallow and pork lard to victory at the grueling Rolex 24 endurance race in Daytona over the coming weekend.

No, the maker isn’t sponsored by the local butcher.  It’s powering its new Mazda6 race car with a custom-made fuel blend that starts out with scraps from Tyson Foods. That organic glop has been converted into a special bio-fuel that will stoke the new SkyActiv-D clean diesel engine that will power Mazda’s entry into the new Grand-Am GX Class at the 24-hour race.

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“It’s meat packing residue,” explains John Doonan, the director of Mazda’s ambitious motorsports operation.  And the ultimate blend is so clean the Mazda6 race car won’t need particulate filters or any of the other devices used on other diesel-powered race cars.


Mazda Confirms Diesel Coming for 2014 Mazda6

New sedan launching with SkyActiv gas package.

by on Nov.29, 2012

Mazda will offer both a small gas engine and a new diesel for the 2014 Mazda6 sedan.

Mazda will launch a diesel version of its new midsize Mazda6 sedan during the second half of 2013, the maker confirmed during an LA Auto Show news conference – and while the maker won’t release official figures until closer to launch, a well-placed source said the maker is looking to match hybrid-level fuel economy numbers with the package.

Mazda is the latest manufacturer to announce plans to enter the diesel market, a niche largely populated by European makers, such as Audi which earlier announced plans to add four new diesels to its U.S. line-up next year.

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The new Mazda6 itself was earlier previewed during an introduction in, of all places, Moscow over the summer. The sedan is an example of the Japanese maker’s aggressive new Kodo design language which features a low-slung nose and aggressive wheel bulges intended to deliver a sense of power and agility.


Ford Planning up to 25% More Products per Plant

Mazda out, Ford has big plans for Flat Rock factory.

by on Sep.10, 2012

Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields at the renamed Flat Rock Assembly Plant.

By 2015, Ford plants around the world will be able to produce 25% more vehicles and their derivatives than they could turn out in 2011, company officials said Monday.

Increasing the range of models rolling off a single assembly line should help the maker better balance production and demand, said Mark Field, Ford president of the Americas, during an appearance at the maker’s plant in the southern suburbs of Detroit.

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Long known as AutoAlliance, that plant was operated as part of a joint venture with Mazda Motors. The Japanese maker built its last Mazda6 sedan there last month, however, and Ford has now taken full control of the facility, renaming it the Flat Rock Assembly Plant – a reference to the town where it is base.

“The new Flat Rock Assembly Plant symbolizes the growth driven by our One Ford plan,” said Fields, adding Ford will be adding a second shift at the Flat Rock plant in the first half of 2013.


Mazda6 Makes Moscow Move

Zoom, zoom? Da.

by on Aug.29, 2012

The 2013 Mazda6 zoom-zooms into Moscow.

The long-awaited new Mazda6 has made its debut – in Moscow.  The Japanese automaker turned to the annual Russian car show to reveal the new sedan, the latest in its line-up to migrate to Mazda’s new SkyActiv technology.

The new 2013 Mazda6 will be entering a crowded field, what with makers including Honda, Ford, Chevrolet and Nissan all updating their own midsize entries.  Mazda is hoping to stand out from the crowd by delivering a sedan that is bigger, roomier, more stylish – and notably more fuel-efficient – than the model it replaces.

Among the most distinctive new technologies introduced on the 2013 Mazda6, the sedan will use an ultracapacitor, rather than a battery, to help recapture energy that would normally be lost during braking or coasting.

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The look of the new model is likely to be one of the big draws, however, styling chief Akira Tamatani proclaiming, “We have created a design in which the wild and dynamic expressions of motion artistically realize a powerful presence.”