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Auto blogSat, 20 Jul 2013 17:10:00 EST
Auto sales in Europe have been a tricky proposition for some years, but Mazda has seen some success on the backs of the CX-5 and new Mazda6. According to a report form Automotive News Europe, though, that doesn't mean we should be looking for the Japanese manufacturer to set up production operations there.
Mazda's European CEO, Jeff Guyton, explained to AN that "Our intention is to have manufacturing scale. That gives you scale economy and quality through repeatability." In other words, a big honking plant in one part of the world is preferable to a half dozen small factories building the same vehicles.
European sales for Mazda are up 5.4 percent in the first half of 2013, with 74,000 units sold. That kicked the Zoom-Zoom brand's market share up from one to 1.2 percent. Small gains, but gains nonetheless. According to Guyton, Mazda would need to sell 200,000 units of just one model in Europe for local production to make sense. Mazda's best European year saw 320,000 units sold across the entire range.
It appears that Toyota's renotification to owners of recalled vehicles from last year is just the tip of the iceberg for what could potentially be a much larger industry-wide recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening a preliminary evaluation investigation into roughly 1.1 million vehicles from Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota and parts supplier Takata regarding faulty airbag inflators in several models.
NHTSA has received six reports - three directly, two from Takata and one from Toyota - of vehicles with ruptured airbag inflators from 2002-2006, which resulted in three injuries. So far, all six incidents have occurred in high humidity areas like Florida and Puerto Rico. According to Toyota's latest recall announcement, the inflators may have an improper propellant that could cause it to rupture in a crash and the bag to deploy abnormally.
This new investigation follows a previous recall from April 2013 of about 3.4 million vehicles worldwide for the airbag inflators from Takata. As Autoblog reported, Toyota jumpstarted the new situation when it found that the original list of serial numbers for the faulty part was incomplete and discovered more cars in need of replacement. Honda and Nissan told us that they were investigating whether further models would need called in again as well. Mazda told Autoblog: "Regarding the current Takata situation, we're working closely with NHTSA and investigating the situation, but nothing else to report at this time." Chrysler Group responded to us with the statement: "Chrysler Group engineers are conducting the appropriate analysis. The Company will cooperate fully with the National Highway Traffic Administration."
Mazda technologies like SkyActiv-Body and SkyActiv-Chassis, plus ultra-high-tensile steel, six airbags, "crusable" brake and accelerator pedal assembly and collapsible steering column have helped the 2013 Mazda3 and 2014 Mazda CX-5 win Top Safety Pick laurels from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It's the second year in a row for the Mazda3.
The accolade is earned by receiving "Good" marks for frontal moderate overlap crashes, side and rear impact crashes, and tests of roof strength. Remember, the small overlap test that the IIHS commenced in August 2012 has lately tripped up some makers who have excellent safety reputations.
The Mazda3 and CX-5 join offerings like the Dodge Dart, Hyundai Elantra, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and Subaru Forester among the 117 vehicles so far declared Top Safety Picks - which is different than the 13 named Top Safety Picks+, mind you - for this year. Have a read of the press release below for more information.