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Auto blogMon, 17 Nov 2014 15:00:00 EST
The Mazda CX-3 is just days away from its unveiling at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, but elsewhere in the world, the Japanese brand still has the compact crossover disguised for testing. These spy shots aren't too camouflaged though, and when combined with the previous teaser image, they give a pretty clear idea what the new model will look like.
The grille here is well covered, but the photo from the front reveals the similarities to the design sketch. The rear shows a similar horizontally oriented design as the Mazda2, which the CUV is based on. However, the dipping sides around the B-pillar from the teaser don't appear to be on this tester. Even with all the swirls, the vehicle looks fairly attractive.
Mazda is doing a fantastic job of keeping mechanical details about the CX-3 a secret. It's not yet known whether the model is front-wheel-drive only or if all-wheel drive is also an option. The crossover also likely shares the Mazda2's engine, which isn't revealed for North America, yet. The diminutive CUV will compete with a huge crop of new classmates, including the Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Chevrolet Trax and Honda HR-V. Check out the gallery for the latest glimpses of this Japanese CUV just days ahead of its full debut.
Automotive News reports Mazda is set to turn a profit for the first time in five years. The automaker is more dependent on exports from Japan than other automakers based in that country, and as a result, it has long suffered at the hands of a strong yen. But the currency has declined in value by some 16 percent over the past six months and Mazda's shares have tripled in value to their highest level since 2008. Contrast this situation to a year ago when Mazda printed 1.22 billion new shares to raise cash. The move was equivalent to 70 percent of the company's then-outstanding stock, and values tumbled to record lows as a result.
Now that the yen has fallen to a value of around 96 per dollar, Mazda operations in the US are more profitable and the company now projects it will earn around $279 million for the next fiscal year. Automotive News says a one yen change against the dollar can have a 9.1 percent impact on Mazda operating profit compared to 4.7 percent at Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries or 3.1 percent at Toyota. Those automakers better insulate themselves from currency fluctuations with overseas manufacturing facilities.
As we slowly march towards a world where our cars will drive for us, there will be mishaps. Systems will act up, not behave has intended or we'll simply forget to turn them on. We all remember when Volvo tested the S60's City Safety system. Now Mazda has had an issue of its own.
During a test of a Mazda CX-5's Smart City Brake Support on a dealership lot in Japan, a prospective customer and a dealership employee were injured when they hit a urethane barrier used for testing the system. According to Bloomberg, which spoke with the Saitama Prefectural Police, the impact with the barrier left the customer with an injured neck while the dealership employee suffered a fractured arm. Considering the injuries, we imagine this wasn't a small barrier.
"For any safety function, it's impossible to be 100-percent free of accidents. These technical functions aren't always the easiest to understand," IHS Automotive auto parts analyst, Hiroshi Ataka told Bloomberg.