Archive for the ‘Mazda’ Category

China Car Sales Tumble for 10th Consecutive Month

Downturn comes as US trade war escalates, domestic economy slips.

by on May.13, 2019

Klaus Bischoff, VW design chief, shows off the SMV Concept at Auto Shanghai last month.

For much of the past two decades, China’s new vehicle market was the envy of the world, with routine double-digit annual growth approaching triple-digit gains on several occasions – but the numbers were down 14.6% in April, marking the 10th consecutive monthly decline.

At 1.98 million vehicles, China remains solidly in the lead as the world’s largest automotive market, but the downturn raises troubling issues for both foreign and domestically owned brands, such as General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Geely and Great Wall, impacting industry earnings around the globe.

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With China locked in an escalating trade war with the United States and the country’s overall economy showing signs of weakness, industry analysts question how soon the car market will show a recovery. The downturn could force automakers to look for ways to export products from increasingly underutilized Chinese plants, according to observers.

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Is Mazda Planning to Bring Vision Coupe Concept – and New Engine Line — to Life?

I-6 engine to power new product line off “Large Architecture” platform.

by on May.10, 2019

Mazda is finishing up a "Large Architecture," like the one that underpinned the 2017 Vision Coupe Concept.

For such a small company, Mazda has had a history of coming up with lots of creative powertrain technology, from its original rotaries to the latest Skyactiv-X that manages to combine some of the best attributes of a diesel and a gas engine. Now, it appears, the Hiroshima-based manufacturer is busy working on an inline-six design that could be powered both by gas and diesel.

Considering the size and design of Mazda’s current line-up, that might seem an odd choice, however. With the exception of the MX-5 Miata, the automaker’s products have been designed to use shorter powertrains that work in a transverse, or east-west, configuration, rather than the longitudinal, or north-south, layout that would be required with a longer inline-six engine.

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That would suggest that Mazda has another surprise coming, and it appears to be a production car based on what is being referred to as the “Large Architecture,” a platform that could be used for a bigger product than any in the current portfolio. And that immediately brings to mind Mazda’s recent Vision Coupe Concept.

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You Probably Won’t Be Able to Pronounce Its Name, But Zotye is Betting You’ll Want to Buy One of its SUVs

Stealing a page from the Koreans – and undercutting them, in the process.

by on May.03, 2019

The Zotye T600 shown making its debut at Auto Shanghai last month.

At 69, Duke Hale has been selling cars, either at a dealership or working for an automaker, for 50 years, but he’s betting he can become a sort of automotive Pied Piper to Millennials and Gen-Z.

He and a team of aging Baby Boom industry veterans are getting ready to start selling what may become the first cars imported from a local Chinese carmaker. It’s no easy task, his California-based start-up, known as HAAH, is still pitching its idea to the dealers who will have to bet on a brand that’s not only unknown to American car buyers but which is saddled with the ungainly name, Zotye.

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Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time U.S. motorists were won over by a brand whose name they’ve had to struggle with. Think Hyundai, which Americanized its name to “Hun-day.” The Chinese brand, pronounced “Zoh-tee,” hopes it can lift some other pages from the Korean carmaker’s playbook, starting with a price low enough to make it an appealing alternative to a used vehicle.

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Nissan Adds Another Nail to Convertible Coffin with Plans to Kill 370Z Roadster

Choice of ragtops growing increasingly thin.

by on May.02, 2019

Nissan will still offer the Z Roadster overseas, but it's dropping the ragtop in the U.S. due to slow sales.

Nissan is pulling the plug on its 370Z Roadster at the end of the 2019 model-year, the Japanese automaker has confirmed, marking the end of one of the brand’s most iconic offerings.

The good news for roadster fans is that the coupe version of the sports car will remain in production indefinitely – which doesn’t mean it will last forever, just that there are no current plans to once again remove it from the line-up.

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The 370Z Roadster joined the Z Coupe after it was returned to the Nissan family in 2009, part of the automaker’s turnaround program. Its demise comes as automakers rethink their passenger car strategies and, in particular, cull their slow-selling convertible offerings.

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Better Late than Never, Mazda Gets into Diesel Game with CX-5 Skyactiv-D

High-torque engine is five years behind schedule.

by on Apr.17, 2019

Mazda finally put a diesel in to one of its products: the 2019 CX-5 crossover.

Nearly five years after Mazda originally planned to launch its SkyActiv-D powertrain, the Japanese automaker is finally ready to make its first diesel engine a reality.

It pulled the wraps off the new powertrain at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday, the oil-burner getting its first American application under the hood of the familiar Mazda CX-5 crossover. The diesel joins a growing mix of Mazda engine alternatives that just a year ago saw the launch of the breakthrough homogeneous-charged SkyActiv-X technology.

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“As Mazda continues our climb toward premium, we will offer more powertrain choices that premium customers expect,” said Jeffery Guyton, the newly appointed president of Mazda North American Operations. “I am happy to share that Mazda’s SkyActiv-D 2.2-liter diesel engine is joining the U.S. powertrain line-up with our debut model, the 2019 CX-5 Signature AWD with SkyActiv-D.” (more…)

Kia Uncovers Two New SUV Concepts at Seoul Motor Show

Expect production models to follow.

by on Mar.28, 2019

Kia isn't saying what it will call the production version of its sub-Sportage, Signature Concept.

Better late than never, Kia is racing to catch up to key competitors by adding a flood of new sport-utility vehicles to its line-up, and its giving a hint of what’s coming with two SUVs concepts making their debut at this week’s Seoul Motor Show.

The two bookend Kia’s future utility line-up, the Masterpiece hinting at a large SUV with serious off-road capabilities, while the Signature suggests where Kia will be heading with a compact urban crossover.

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“While each of the concepts hint at the direction Kia’s designers could take in future, each also illustrates different elements of the brand’s future model strategy (in terms of) in terms of design, layout and use of technology,” the automaker said in a statement previewing the debut of the two new utility vehicles.

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First Drive: 2019 Mazda3

Blend of power, handling and comfort make it a segment leader.

by on Mar.26, 2019

The new 2019 Mazda3 confirms the brand's leadership position within the small car segment.

Small cars or relatively small vehicles remain a fundamental part of the car business and some companies are just better at making them just as some basketball players are better shooting from beyond the three-point line.

Mazda has long been one of the companies that seems to have the right touch for building successful small cars that earn loyal fans and critical praise. So, the debut of the 2019 Mazda3 sedan and Mazda3 hatchback subcompacts are noteworthy events especially at time when Americans seem to prefer larger sport-utility vehicles.

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Moreover, Mazda’s key Japanese rivals have stated publicly, there is plenty of space in a sprawling U.S. car market for small cars. (more…)

Green Car Finalists Revealed

Focusing in on connected and Earth-friendly powertrain technologies.

by on Mar.07, 2019

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the vehicles up for the Connected Car award this year.

With automakers facing increasingly stringent mileage and emissions standards, automakers are rapidly ramping up production of more and more environmentally friendly products, from breakthrough gas engines like Mazda’s new SkyActiv-X to all-electric offerings such as the new Audi e-tron SUV.

Sorting out which products and technologies deserve notice can be challenging, but Green Car Journal has been honoring the best of the best with its decade-old Green Car Awards, recently adding several new categories to the list. And it announced today finalists in two of those categories, with winners to be revealed early next month at the annual auto show in Washington, D.C.

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The two awards focus on the technological side of the green car market, both in terms of connectivity and powertrains. Here’s a look at the finalists.

(Live from Geneva! Click Here for our complete auto show coverage.)

Finalists for 2019 Connected Green Car of the Year include: (more…)

Mazda Takes Cover Off New Small Crossover

New CUV is latest in portfolio makeover.

by on Mar.05, 2019

Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s Representative Director, President and CEO, reveals the new CX-30 in Geneva.

Mazda revealed the CX-30 in Geneva, the small crossover it teased last month, saying the new “core model” will be rolled out globally throughout the rest of the year.

The name of the small CUV might be slightly different in the U.S. when it finally arrives in dealerships as the earlier glimpse of the vehicle was called the CX-3. Since in America, Mazda’s alpha-numeric line-up uses just single numbers, such as CX-9 or Mazda6, it’s likely it’ll lose the zero at the end.

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Unsurprisingly, it sticks to the Kodo design language that now dominates Mazda’s product portfolio, and Mazda officials said the design team hoped to create a car that would help owners and their families “make new and stimulating discoveries within their daily lives.”

“We designed the CX-30 to be an essential partner in the customer’s life,” said Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s Representative Director, President and CEO. Adding, “it will be made at key global plants so we can deliver Mazda’s renowned driving pleasure and matured Kodo design to customers all over the world.

(Live from Geneva! Click Here for our complete show coverage.)

“Moving forward, our new products and technologies will ensure customers continue to see the value in owning a Mazda car. We aim to be recognized as a brand that forms the strongest of bonds with each customer.”

The small crossover is designed to be big on the inside with room for four adults, making it a full-service utility vehicle. The automaker also took time to give the second-gen model some engine upgrades improving acceleration. The overall ride and handling has been improved as well.

(Click Here for TDB’s first drive in the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata.)

The new crossover is a mild hybrid and will be “the first production car to feature Mazda’s innovative SPCCI technology,” the company confirms, a reference to what is more often referred to as the SkyActiv-X engine.

For those not familiar with the “X,” it will become the first production powertrain that can run in homogeneous charge compression mode. Essentially, it uses extremely high compression rates, like a diesel, but runs on gasoline.

(Compact Mazda CUV to break cover in Geneva. Click Here for the story.)

Other automakers have been trying to figure out how to make HCCI work effectively and been stymied. Mazda’s approach is to add a spark plug to ensure the highly compressed fuel-air mixture always ignites at the right time. That’s why it calls its technology SPCCI, or Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition. The automaker claims it still can get diesel-like fuel economy, as well as surprisingly good performance, out of the engine.

Mazda Marks Miata’s 30th With Party, Special Edition

Carrot-colored 30th Anniversary Edition will start at $35,915.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Mazda Motors North America President Masahiro Moro introduces the 30th anniversary limited-edition Mazda MX-5 Miata in Chicago.

February in Chicago isn’t normally what you’d call convertible season, but on a cold and blustery morning almost 30 years ago to the day, Mazda took ragtop fans and, indeed, the rest of the auto industry, by surprise with the debut of the original Miata roadster.

While never a major seller, the pint-sized two-seater also known as the MX-5 captured the hearts – and checkbooks – of those who wanted something that put the emphasis on pure driving fun, inspiring a wave of imitations from Mazda’s Japanese, German and U.S. rivals.

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On another cold and blustery day in the Windy City, Mazda pulled the wraps off a special, commemorative edition of the fourth-generation Miata Thursday. And to mark the occasion, it brought to its Chicago Auto Show news conference not only some of the roadster’s most loyal fans, but some of the folks who helped create the little car. (more…)


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