Auto blogThu, 30 Oct 2014 19:00:00 EST
The predecessor to the Mazda6, the Mazda 626, was sold in a multitude of body styles across the globe. It could, of course, be had as a sedan, but a two-door coupe, known stateside as the MX-6, was also available on the same platform. Now, a new report from Motor Trend claims that a two-door version of the modern Mazda6 could be on the way.
This would be remarkable for a number of reasons, as automakers have been abandoning this type of non-luxury coupe for decades. A class that counted entries from Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, Dodge and Chrysler is now occupied solely by Honda with its Accord Coupe.
Ignoring that, though, MT claims we'll see a two-door Mazda6 in the second half of 2016. When that new variant arrives, it will be with an even more dramatic version of the sedan's Kodo design language. Mazda could rely even more heavily on styling inspiration of the Shinari Concept, which already informs the design of the current 6 sedan, when the two-door model arrives.
The Mazda booth at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show will showcase some new crossovers. In addition to the refreshed CX-5 that we're expecting, the Japanese automaker has announced plans to unveil its new CX-3 compact crossover.
According to Mazda, the brand's entry into the compact CUV market will feature "the full range of SKYACTIV technology and KODO - Soul of Motion design." We take that to mean lightweight chassis and body architectures along with fuel-sipping gasoline and, perhaps, diesel engines.
The CX-3 will have to take on a slew of upcoming competitors, including the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and Jeep Renegade, and reports indicate it will share a platform with the Mazda2, which is just starting production in Mexico. We don't yet know if it will be front-wheel drive only or if all-wheel drive will be optional. The CUV is also likely to share the Mazda2's engine, which isn't yet revealed for the North American market. Japan gets the 2 with either a 1.3-liter gasoline engine or a 1.5-liter diesel.
The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year's list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year's list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.
Acura isn't the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker's reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about "in-car electronics" were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.
Mazda has officially kicked off production of the next-generation Mazda2 at the company's new factory in Salamanca, Mexico. Alongside the auto assembly plant, operations have also commenced at the facility's engine machining factory.
"With the start of production of the all-new Mazda2, operations underway at the engine machining plant, and an increase in our annual production capacity, we now have an even stronger production framework capable of supplying global markets with Skyactiv products of the same high quality level as those made in Japan," Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation's President Keishi Egawa said in a statement. "At the same time, we are pleased to be able to make a contribution to Mexico's further economic growth."
MMVO joins Mazda's Hofu Plant in Japan and the Auto Alliance factory in Thailand, which commenced Mazda2 production in July and September, respectively.
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST
Unfortunately, the government's list still contains errors.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it's urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement, and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors, leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe, a joint project with Toyota.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles "to act immediately" to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Infiniti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.
While NHSTA doesn't specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota's own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven't already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there.
We don't need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be - even in a stationary vehicle - but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to shrapnel being sprayed into the cabin.
The 2015 Mazda2 is quite high up on our must-drive list. Yes, the teeny, tiny successor to the 100-horsepower five-door is worth getting excited over, largely because the previous generation was one of the absolute best smiles-per-dollar values on the market.
While we eagerly await for our opportunity to take to the 2's helm, our expectations of the new car have just been heightened thanks to its win in Japan's Car of the Year competition. Called "Demio" in the land of the rising sun, Japanese journalists handed out Mazda's second COTY award since the CX-5 took the title in 2012.
In more surprising news, the new Jeep Cherokee has made the list of 10 Best Cars in Japan. The Jeep's triumph marks the first time an American car has cracked the top ten, finishing eighth. It's not, however, the first Fiat Chrysler vehicle to snag the title, following in the footsteps of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Fiat Panda. Still, the fact that an American brand can make such impressive inroads into the traditionally tough-to-crack Japanese market is a seriously big deal.
Let the speculation finally end - we know what will power the next-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, and it's not turbocharged. The US model will get a SkyActiv 2.0-liter engine and six-speed manual, while models in the rest of the world have a 1.5-liter engine, confirming earlier rumors.
Unfortunately, Mazda isn't letting loose how much power either of these mills make just yet. For sake of comparison, the current SkyActiv 2.0 in the Mazda3 produces 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, and the 1.5-liter in the UK (and elsewhere) has about 99 hp and 110 lb-ft of twist. However, the current Miata produces 167 hp and 140 lb-ft.
But fret not droptop fans. The company's brochure from the 2014 Paris Motor Show confirms, "all available drivetrains have been specially tuned for the all-new MX-5," which at least hints at the possibility of more performance. Also, even if the numbers remain untouched, the new Miata should feel even more sporting on the open road. That's because Mazda says the new model weighs in the neighborhood of 2,200 pounds; with that in mind, the 2016 car would boast around 14.19 pounds per horsepower versus 14.85 lb/hp in the present MX-5. Progress!
Brands like Porsche and Ferrari make a mint every year by selling branded lifestyle goods like shoes, hats and even wilder items. Bugatti takes things to the extremes with things like its $84,000 belt buckle. These products not only make their respective companies some extra money, but they reaffirm their high-end design aspirations to wealthy buyers. However, the next firm possibly dipping its toe into this upscale pool is a bit more mass-market - Mazda.
That's right. The Japanese automaker best known among enthusiasts for its segment-defining Miata and rotary engines is considering its own line of luxury goods in the coming years called Mazda Design. The project is the brainchild of styling boss Ikuo Maeda, and according to Automotive News, he has backing from company CEO Masamichi Kogai. Although the green light isn't quite on yet, Maeda is already brainstorming. "Not only furniture, but I'd like to build a Mazda Design brand. That's my dream," he said to Automotive News.
The possible project is just one aspect of Mazda's move to become a near-premium brand. According to Automotive News, it wants to see higher transaction prices partially by offering more stylish design than its rivals. Launching a line of luxury goods is meant to communicate this new focus to customers.
People tend to get very set in their ways when it comes to the pronunciation of words. Just look at the endless debates over whether or not to say the final 'e' in Porsche (which you should in terms of correct German enunciation). Or the argument about whether to follow the British convention and give the 'u' in Jaguar a special delivery or to say the 'ua' diphthong as more of a 'w' sound, as usually happens in the US.
This short video doesn't answer either of those automotive questions, but it does allow a native Japanese speaker to demonstrate the accepted pronunciations for several, major automakers from the country. One benefit is that it clears up the occasional debate over whether Nissan should be said with a long or short 'i' sound. Also, listen closely to how the female host says Mazda as Matsuda, the way it's actually said in the language. Even if this doesn't change the way you enunciate these brands, at least now you know the accurate way in Japanese.