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More Japanese Companies Guilty of Falsifying Emissions Tests

Suzuki, Mazda and Yamaha latest offenders.

by on Aug.09, 2018

Suzuki's Toshihiro Suzuki apologized to customers after it was discovered the company certified emissions tests on vehicles that actually failed.

Three more Japanese automakers admitted to using falsified emissions data to inspect their new vehicles after a government-ordered review of procedures by the automotive and motorcycle industries.

Suzuki Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Yamaha Motor Co. each told Japan’s Transport Ministry they certified products after they’d failed emissions tests. They follow Nissan Motor Co. and Subaru Corp. in admitting to the improper inspections.

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Japan’s transport ministry ordered 23 Japanese auto and motorbike manufacturers to examine their inspection procedures in July following similar mistakes made by other companies at final product quality checks. (more…)

Every Car Sold in the U.S. is an “Import”

Tariffs would impact even “American-made” vehicles.

by on Jul.03, 2018

The Honda Odyssey is one of the most "American" cars but will still be hit by tariffs.

Every single car, truck or crossover sold in the U.S. would be affected by the 25% import tariff being proposed by Pres. Donald Trump, with prices on some models rising by tens of thousands of dollars.

That’s because even vehicles assembled in the U.S. rely on some level of imported parts and components, whether in their suspension, infotainment systems or powertrains.

Beyond the Headlines!

Complicating matters, American-made auto parts and vehicles could become more expensive, and lose their competitive edge, if trade partners enact their own tariffs in response, something a number of them have now threatened to do.

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No More What If: Mazda Bringing Out a Faster Miata

Engineers squeeze out a 17% power increase.

by on Jun.20, 2018

The 2019 Mazda Miata gets a bunch of new safety tech, but more importantly: a 17% boost in power.

The Mazda Miata has always been a “but what if…” car.

The “what if?” What if it had more power? It’s a roadster and that generally means that the car is more about the experience of driving rather than how far back are you being pressed into your seat when you push the go pedal to the floor.

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Well, Mazda’s heard enough “what ifs” apparently since it it’s now upping the power in the latest iteration of the MX-5, known casually as the Miata. Mazda’s engineers enriched Miata’s SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter engine with the goals of improved response, performance, feel and efficiency.  (more…)

Trump Meets With Automakers About CAFE, Blasts NAFTA Instead

President pushes companies to build more cars in U.S.

by on May.11, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett looks on as President Donald Trump makes a point during a meeting with automakers.

The much-anticipated meeting between a 10 automakers and Trump administration officials to discuss rolling back Obama-era fuel economy standards resulted in smoke, but no fire.

President Trump and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt met with the heads dozen automakers, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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A proposal from the U.S. Transportation Department would freeze Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE,requirements at 2020 levels through 2026, rather than allowing them to increase as previously planned. Trump’s administration is expected to formally unveil the proposal later this month or in June. (more…)

Mazda’s Head of N.American Ops Will Be its Next CEO

Promotion of Akira Marumoto comes at critical time of change for #5 Japanese automaker.

by on May.11, 2018

Akira Marumoto, a 38-year Mazda veteran, will become the company's new president and CEO.

Mazda Motor Corp.’s president and CEO will step down next month and will be replaced by the executive currently overseeing its biggest market, the Americas, and North America, in particular.

The transition, which will see current Vice President Akira Marumoto take the helm, comes at a critical time for Japan’s fifth-largest automaker. After having its long-time partner, Ford Motor Co., sever ties, Mazda has been searching for new allies and over the last 12 months has announced several projects with industry giant Toyota that will see it share in a new, U.S. assembly plant. Mazda is also pushing to develop costly new powertrain technologies at a time when most markets are demanding significant improvements in fuel economy and emissions.

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“Given the rapid changes occurring in the auto industry at the moment it’s often asked whether a small company like us will be OK,” the 60-year-old Marumoto told reporters in Japan on Friday, cautioning that, “before we even consider this we need to show our strengths, and what makes us different if we want to grow our brand.”

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First Drive: 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring

A cut above other small cars on the market.

by on Apr.12, 2018

The new 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring edition is one of the top performing in the small car segment.

Given the hubbub around sport-utility vehicles these days and the relatively low price of gasoline, it is quite easy for small cars to get lost – or at least overlooked – in conversations about new cars.

However, small cars still command a significant following among motorists who are watching their budgets, drive long distances where fuel economy becomes paramount or live in places where parking is tight and at a premium.

Reviews You Can Use!

This adds up to a lot of people looking at a fleet of cars that’s a bit neglected these days by some car makers but there are companies, like Mazda for instance, that see them as an opportunity. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Hyundai Kona

Putting a little crossover through its paces on the Big Island.

by on Mar.26, 2018

The Hyundai Kona is one of the smallest of the small CUVs - but only on the outside.

So much for palm trees swaying in a sunny, South Pacific breeze. The wind is blowing, all right, but the normally desert-like Kona Coast is anything but warm and dry as we head out for a day’s drive across the Big Island of Hawaii.

Actually, we’re just fine with that, as it gives us a chance to put the new 2019 Hyundai Kona through its paces as we explore one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet. By the time we wrap up we’ll experience just about every sort of weather one can imagine short of snow – and at the top of Saddle Road, which cuts between the currently dormant Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, even a blizzard is possible.

Reviews You Can Trust!

We’ve spent nearly 12 hours in the air flying to, yes, Kona, Hawaii to see just how well the new Kona crossover lives up our expectations. Hyundai was slow to recognize one of the most dramatic shifts in the automotive market, the rapid shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and crossover-utility vehicles. As it rolls into dealer showrooms across the U.S. in the coming weeks, it becomes the Korean brand’s third utility vehicle, joining the compact Tucson and midsize Santa Fe – with an assortment of others, including the hydrogen-powered Nexo, to follow.

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Ford, Mazda Expand ‘Do Not Drive’ Takata Recall

Automakers broaden small pickup recall after additional testing.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Owners of certain 2006 Ford Rangers are being told to park their trucks immediately as part of a recall to repair faulty Takata airbags.

This story has been updated with additional information.

Ford and Mazda issued a warning to about 35,000 Ranger and B-Series small pickups to stop driving the trucks immediately due to potential problems with Takata-made airbags. The action is essentially an extension of a smaller recall Ford issued last month.

In January, Ford issued the same order for 2,900 Ranger pickups for the 2006 model year because of the faulty inflators from Takata. The company became aware of a second death that occurred in a truck from the same “production run” of vehicles causing Ford to send out the urgent warning to owners.

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Mazda Motor Corp. followed suit for about 1,800 2006 Mazda B-series trucks that were built by Ford after it had issued a warning for 160 trucks last month. NHTSA said the vehicles pose “an immediate risk to safety” and asked owners to immediately schedule a free repair. (more…)

Mazda’s SkyActiv-X Aims to Give Diesels, Hybrids a Fuel-Efficient Run for the Money

More torque and from 20-30% better mileage could make SkyActiv-X a real breakthrough.

by on Jan.26, 2018

Driving the Mazda3 with a prototype of the SkyActiv-X engine revealed the vehicle's proposed improvements to be true.

It looks like the familiar Mazda3. Well, almost, if you ignore the matte black paint, the jury-rigged gas cap cover and a few other odd retrofits. Inside, there are a couple of plastic tubes sticking out of the air vents that look, oddly enough, like the arms on the robot from the old TV show, “Lost in Space.”

There’s also a tablet computer bolted to the instrument panel that tells you this is more than just a junker someone picked up and patched up so they might have a cheap set of wheels. As we fire up the hatchback the screen displays a big green circle with the number “1” in the middle. But as we pull out of the parking lot another circle lights up, “2” it tells us before a third circle briefly flashes on and off a couple times with the number “3.”

The Last Word!

No, it’s not some sort of upshift warning light. The display is intended to show which mode the hatchback’s engine is operating in. That’s because it’s a prototype version of the new Mazda SkyActiv-X and the more you can keep those twos and threes flashing the more fuel you are saving, explains the Mazda engineer who has come along for an hour-long test drive starting at the Japanese automaker’s U.S. R&D facility in Orange County, California. (more…)

Mazda NAO CEO Denies Toyota Merger Speculation

Toyota deal is just a deal, CEO says. Despite EV growth, gas engines to stay.

by on Jan.22, 2018

Masahiro Moro, Mazda NAO president and CEO, told a crowd in Detroit that the factory deal with Toyota was not a prelude to a merger.

Mazda’s recent partnership with Toyota to produce EVs at a new plant in Alabama is just that — a partnership. Masahiro Moro, Mazda North America Operations president and CEO, told a crowd that Mazda plans to remain an independent automaker for foreseeable future.

Moro, the company’s top executive discussed Mazda’s future during the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. He also noted that while electric vehicles and fuel cells are important, Mazda believes it can squeeze substantially more fuel savings from its internal combustion engine during the next decade.

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The automaker does not have an EV or even a hybrid in its U.S. line-up, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named Mazda as the most fuel-efficient brand in the industry five years in a row, Moro noted.  (more…)

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