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Auto blogWed, 02 Oct 2013
According to Edmunds, Mazda engineers are pressuring the company to create more rear-wheel-drive models, in an effort to better differentiate itself from its rivals. This push is reportedly coming from middle and senior engineers within the company, and these folks at Mazda believe this rear-drive strategy would allow the automaker to produce more distinctive, fun to drive cars. Mazda discontinued the rear-drive (and rotary-engined) RX-8 a few years ago, leaving the MX-5 Miata as the company's only RWD offering.
As enthusiasts, we're fully on board with Mazda offering more rear-drive cars, but unsurprisingly, the company's top management isn't exactly keen on the idea - and with good reason. First and foremost, the cost associated with redesigning fresh architecture for new models would be very high, and considering the fact that Mazda hasn't exactly been raking in the dough lately, an expensive new venture like this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. What's more, Mazda's latest front-drive models - the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5 - have been very well-received, and are helping the company gain sales momentum.
But that doesn't mean there aren't other options. Edmunds reminds us that Mazda is already partnering with Alfa Romeo on the next-generation Miata, and if this collaboration is successful, perhaps the relationship could bear additional fruit. After all, Alfa Romeo is said to be working on returning to its rear-wheel-drive roots, so Mazda's engineers might be able to make a case for more RWD goodness after all.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced Maserati and Alfa Romeo are recalling certain Quattroporte, Granturismo and 8C models over potentially faulty tie rod ends. According to NHTSA, 2005-2008 Quattroporte, 2008 Granturismo and 2008 8C units may have been assembled with tie rod ends that have insufficient corrosion protection. As such, the components may rust, weaken and potentially fail. If that happens, the driver could lose control of the vehicle and cause an accident.
Maserati and Alfa Romeo will contact owners and replace the tie rod end assemblies once the recall gets underway in June. All told, 7,438 vehicles are impacted by the recall. You can read the full NHTSA notice below for more information.
Episode #360 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth and Jeff Ross discuss the 2015 Ford Mustang, reports of the latest plan to bring Alfa Romeo back to the US, Chevrolet leaving Europe and Holden closing down in Australia, and the price barrier that's holding down potential EV buyers. Dan also interviewed Jacques Brent, Ford's marketing manager for the 2015 Mustang and Sebastian Ruta and Joe Oh from Blipshift. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #360: