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Posts Tagged ‘Takashi Yamanouchi’

Mazda Delays Death of RX-8 While Working up New Rotary Plans

Japanese maker’s Wankel plans still uncertain.

by on Apr.30, 2012

Mazda stretches the final run of the RX-8 out to June.

With apologies to Mark Twain, reports of the death of the rotary engine are premature, though not greatly exaggerated. Mazda has decided to give its Wankel-powered RX-8 a temporary reprieve, adding an extra 1,000 units to its final run. But what happens beyond that is anything but certain.

While the Japanese maker has been hinting that a more advanced version of the ultra-compact powertrain is under development – this time borrowing some features from Mazda’s promising SkyActiv technology – it is anything but certain if or when a rotary will return to production.

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As the Mazda RX-8 wraps up its ninth and final year of production, Mazda has decided to add another 1,000 units to the run to meet unexpected demand. The last cars will be part of the Japanese maker’s limited-edition Spirit R model, a heavily loaded model featuring such niceties as Recaro sport bucket seats, oversized red brakes and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.


Struggling Mazda “Actively” Seeking Partners

Could someone step in to fill Ford’s shoes?

by on Feb.14, 2012

Mazda's Takeri concept with CEO Takashi Yamanouchi.

Racking up mounting losses, Mazda is facing serious challenges that may require it to turn outside for help to resolve, the maker’s CEO confides.

That could mean seeking out a new partner to replace the once-powerful alliance between the Japanese automaker and America’s Ford Motor Co.  It could also force Mazda to have to share its new and highly-touted SkyActiv powertrain technology with an erstwhile competitor.

Mazda is in a serious bind.  The maker is forecasting a $1.3 billion loss for the current fiscal year, which ends March 31.  And it is struggling to reverse a sales slide that saw it drop to 1.25 million units, a 2% dip, in calendar 2011.

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The maker is meanwhile getting ready to walk away from its long-time manufacturing joint venture with Ford, known as Auto Alliance, where it had been producing the Mazda6 alongside the U.S. maker’s Mustang and other models.  Though Mazda plans to produce some of its smaller models – the Mazda2 and Mazda3 — in Mexico, it will be particularly vulnerable to lopsided exchange rates once the Mazda6 returns to Japan.


Mazda Simplifies, as Ford Complicates

Mazda shows a less expensive approach to fuel efficiency.

by on Oct.21, 2009

Mazda Kiyora Tokyo 2009

Kiyora returns a claimed 75 mpg, without any assistance from an electric motor.

Mazda showed its next generation of gasoline and diesel powertrains today at the Tokyo Motor Show, and they are notable for a simple approach to boosting fuel economy and output by a claimed 30% between now and 2015.

It packages some of the technologies in the Kiyora, “a next-generation concept car that demonstrates the range of Mazda’s upcoming eco-technologies.”

Kiyora combines a 1.3-liter Sky-G engine, the Sky-Drive transmission, and the first two stages of Mazda’s electric device program — i-stop and regenerative braking — as well as weight reduction and aerodynamic advancements. All of which combine to achieve extremely high fuel economy of 32 kilometers per liter, about 75 mpg, without any assistance from an electric motor.

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 (or more) battery packs. The Ford approach, in theory, will allow it to continue to sell a mix of vehicles that are larger and heavier than Mazda’s, which it of course it already does. The question is where the bulk of the customers will be in the future?

We're Efficient!

We're Efficient!

“Mazda will first work to enhance our base technologies — engines, transmissions, weight reduction and aerodynamics — in order to optimize basic vehicle performance,” said Takashi Yamanouchi, Representative Director, President and CEO. “We feel that by doing this, we will be able to offer not just a small number of customers, but all our customers, driving pleasure as well as eco-friendliness and reassuring safety levels.”