Auto blogFri, 02 May 2014 10:44:00 EST
Mazda made a big celebration of the MX-5 Miata at the 2014 New York Auto Show with a bunch of classic models on display. It capped off the model's 25th birthday with the announcement of the 2015 MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition and showed off the much-anticipated, next-generation version's chassis.
While we are still at least year away from the new Miata hitting the road, the anniversary edition is on its way and is limited to just 100 copies for the United States. The special cars start at $32,205, compared to $23,970 for the 2015 softtop model and $28,665 for the 2015 retractable hardtop version. There is an additional $795 destination charge for all of them.
To make sure everyone gets a chance to own the ceremonial convertible, Mazda has a countdown on its website until 10:25 AM PDT, May 20, 2014. When the day comes, 250 people can to register for the car, and the first 100 to be verified as buyers get the rare Miata. Those with multiple entries will be disqualified.
Mazda is recalling 19,000 Mazda6 sedans from model year 2014, over concerns that the fuel tanks can be filled up too much. What is it with Mazda and fuel tanks?
The big concern is, obviously, spillage when filling up. There's also a risk that a radical temperature swing could cause the fuel volume to expand, causing a full tank to spill over without the driver knowing about it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration bulletin, if the fuel spills over, it could end up in something called the charcoal canister, which helps with the car's emissions. If it fills up the canister, it could leak out onto the road. None of this is really desirable.
The affected vehicles were all built between October 25, 2012 and May 9, 2013. It's unclear if there have been any fires due to this problem. Dealers should have been notified by now, while owners should begin receiving official recall notifications very soon.
Mazda has a lot going on these days, what with launching the new Mazda6 and Mazda3, with the new Mazda2 just around the corner. We know the new Miata is also on the way, and after that it looks like the next vehicle in its lineup due for an overhaul is the CX-9 crossover, due to launch by 2016. The move makes sense because the CUV is growing long in the tooth. It was first introduced in 2007 and was refreshed twice since then.
The next-generation CX-9 will move away from Ford-derived components like the V6 in the current model and will likely use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. However, a final decision hasn't been made yet. "If I ask Mr. Hitomi, our top guy of powertrains at Mazda, he believes the downsizing turbo solution costs more. But real downsizing means six-cylinder to four-cylinder turbo could make sense from a cost point of view," said Mazda's global marketing boss Masahiro Moro to CarAdvice at the New York Auto Show. The executive said a hybrid powertrain option would be unlikely, but markets outside the US could get a diesel, as well.
Moro also tipped his hand at future Mazda model plans. He hints that the Japanese automaker is considering building a luxury vehicle with a six-cylinder engine. "It's too early, we don't have a car yet. But we are collecting advice as to V6 or straight-six," he said to CarAdvice. We'll definitely be watching.
We may only be a third of the way through 2014, but for Japanese companies, March 31 marked the end of fiscal 2014, and it was a banner financial year for Mazda's global operations. The Japanese independent saw its highest global operating profits in its nearly 100-year history. Its global operating profits were up a huge 238 percent. Yes, a 238 percent increase over 2012 to 1.36 billion euros ($1.88 billion), eclipsing the brand's previous best year, 2008, by 12 percent. Net earnings, revenue and global sales volume also saw increases over the last fiscal year.
What's most impressive, though, is where Mazda saw improvement. The notoriously rough European market was rather kind to the Zoom-Zoom brand, where sales increased 25 percent to 163,000 units. That figure was bolstered by a 35-percent sales increase in Great Britain and a 20-percent jump in Germany, Europe's two largest markets. Japanese sales, meanwhile, were up a respectable 13 percent, to 244,000 units. In China, Mazda saw a 12 percent bump.
Notice we aren't talking about North American sales? That's because Mazda only saw a moderate, five-percent gain in the New World, with sales climbing to 391,000 units in the US, Canada and Mexico. This is particularly disappointing considering Mazda has launched three critically acclaimed products (CX-5, Mazda6 and most recently, Mazda3) for the North American market over the past two fiscal years. Still, it isn't a particular reason to be concerned, as IHS industry analyst Stephanie Brinley notes. "Five percent isn't terrible," Brinley told Autoblog, saying that Mazda should see a bump in 2014 as the Mazda3 picks up steam.
The Mazda Tribute is being hit with a similar recall as its platform-mate the Ford Escape underwent a few weeks ago. Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tributes from model years 2001 to 2004. On the trucks, the subframe can rust from road salt, potentially causing the lower control arm to detach. If this happens, a loss of steering control could occur.
Mazda is adding a reinforcement crossbrace for added strength on the affected models. The recall covers Tributes currently registered in or originally sold in 20 northern states and Washington, DC, where road salt is used.
The reinforcement braces aren't available yet to do the repair. Mazda will send a letter in May to owners of affected vehicles that will inform them of the problem, and a second letter telling them when the parts will be ready. Scroll down to read the full recall press release.
As part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the MX-5 Miata, Mazda has put together a rather large display at its New York Auto Show booth, showing off significant models from the diminutive roadsters history.
The display represents a healthy split of volume models, with cars 14, 15 and 17 sitting alongside cars 500,000 and 700,000. There are also more than a few concept cars in the offering, such as the Super20 Concept we drove a few years back, as well as older offerings, like the Club Racer concept from the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, the M-Speedster from the 1995 Chicago show and the M Coupe from the 1996 New York Auto Show.
We've put together a gallery of images of the historical Miata display, which you can view above. Take a look and then let us know which of Mazda's awesome roadsters is your favorite.
Ford may be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mustang this week, but it's not the only automaker with a sports car icon to fete at this year's New York Auto Show. Mazda is also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the MX-5 Miata with an array of 15 classic models. It's also showing off the chassis for the next MX-5, and unveiling a special 25th Anniversary Edition.
The special edition is based on the retractable hardtop model with either manual or automatic transmission, Bilstein shocks, a metallic red paint job with contrasting black roof and an off-white leather interior. Naturally, special badging can be found inside and out to set it apart from the record 940,000 other MX-5s sold to date, and just 100 examples will find their way to US buyers.
Along with the two-tone special, Mazda is also showing off the new Skyactiv chassis and engine that'll underpin and power the upcoming next-generation MX-5 (as well as an as-yet-to-be-determined Fiat Group roadster if the two parties can work out their differences). With a lower center of gravity that's also closer to the middle of the car, the new chassis promises even better balance and a good couple hundred pounds of weight savings over the outgoing model. Check it all out in the press releases below.
When Mazda unveiled the Hazumi Concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, our excitement for the next Mazda2 increased considerably. The Hazumi looks to retain much of the driving character that makes the current 2 one of the very best cars in its segment while infusing it with more aggressive styling. Of course, when the 2 arrives, it won't look exactly like the Hazumi. That's why these spy photos are so important.
This is our very first look at the next-generation 2, and although the Hazumi influence might be difficult to discern, thanks to the swirly camo, it's still there. The grille shape and the headlights are very similar in shape to the items shown on the concept, while the camouflage disguises the shape of the greenhouse, which looks somewhat like the Hazumi.
What we can't see, though, is under the hood. That's where our spies come in, reporting that a pair of 1.5-liter SkyActiv engines will see action in the tossable 2. The former, which we'll almost certainly see in the US, is a gas-powered mill found in the Euro-spec Mazda3. In the larger 3, it produces 99 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque, which is broadly similar to what the current 2's 1.5-liter pumps out. The other engine, a 1.5-liter SkyActiv diesel, probably won't be making the trip, although we'll continue to hope.
The Winter Without End is seemingly dead. Outside my office windows, my brown and yellow lawn is fully exposed to the increasingly powerful sunshine, the morning birdsong is louder than anything until the garbage trucks start rolling, and I'm seriously considering having the summer tires put back on my personal fleet. That last one is a little scary, as I'm a firm believer in the April Snow Jinx, but you get the idea.
The long-term Mazda6 has also long since left my driveway. Looking back on my notes from the time it was in my charge, however, I see all remarks are dominated by one highlighted section at the top: "worst winter drive of all time." I hardly need the reminder, to be honest. Here's what happened.
When the Mazda showed up at my door, we'd already fitted the thing with its new winter rubber: Bridgestone Blizzaks. Plunking down for dedicated snow tires was a near necessity this year - as it almost always is in Michigan. We didn't see much reprieve from snow-choked, iced over roads here in Ann Arbor, and the knobbier rubber proved invaluable in getting me out of my house time and again.
While we're still a ways off from the automotive awards season proper, where things like North American Car and Truck of the Year, Motor Trend's Car of the Year and Car and Driver's Ten Best are named, that doesn't mean there aren't trophies being handed out to deserving automakers. Ward's 10 Best Interiors being one of them.
As the name might imply, the magazine focuses on the very best interior treatments in the US market. Whereas some awards purposely exclude extreme, high-dollar offerings, Ward's considers them - the only requirement is that a vehicle has a "new or significantly redesigned interior."
Ward's offered up the list of winners in simple, alphabetical order, and it only seems fair to do the same: