By on March 23, 2012

Mazda is not doing too well. Stuck with most of its production in high-yen Japan, woefully underrepresented in emerging markets and without the scale necessary for long term success, Mazda is expected to announce a 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion) loss for the fiscal year that ends this March. Mazda has three options for survival: Pray, bet on Skyactiv, and save wherever you can. In the save wherever you can department, Mazda says sayonara to commercial vehicles.

Mazda decided to end development and production of commercial vehicles, says The Nikkei [sub]. According to the report, development will end with current models, production will end in the second half of the decade. Mazda debuted its Bongo small van in 1966. It became a small hit in the travel and construction business, mostly in Japan. The Bongo was exported in small numbers, a rebadged Bongo was sold as a Ford Freda. In recent years, production was down to 20,000 units a year.

Scratching development will save Mazda the approximately $120 million a new generation Bongo would cost to develop. Mazda already sells trucks made by Isuzu, vans made by Nissan, and kei vans made by Suzuki.

On Thursday, Mazda had announced that it will drastically slash hirings.

To end own development of vans must not have come easy at Mazda. Mazda’s  first product was a three-wheeled trucklet, the Mazda-go, launched in 1931.

PS: The all-knowing Wikipedia killed the Bongo more than 10 years ago by writing:

“The Mazda Bongo, also known as Mazda E-Series and Mazda Access, was a van manufactured by Japanese automaker Mazda from 1978 to 2001.”

It isn’t dead yet.

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63 Comments on “Digging For Savings, Mazda Cuts Its Roots...”


  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Well that was as easy as pulling the cork (get it?).

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Mazda is the 2nd highest ranked automaker, after Subaru, in this years Consumer Reports auto edition.

      Honda fell from first overall to a fourth place ranking, and Subaru replaced it.

      Mazda’s 2nd place ranking was earned because of refined powertrains, handling, fit and finish and reliability.

      Mazda was hit particularly hard by the unfortunate earthquake and tsunami, as most of its production takes place in Japan, and most of the parts it needs are sourced in Japan as well.

      The fact that yen is trading at around 80 to the USD, whereas it was a far weaker 130 to the USD just a decade ago, has absolutely hurt Mazda’s profitability, also.

      Given what are some very good products and reams of quality R&D, Mazda is a perfect candidate for a better capitalized partner that needs access to better quality control processes and proven drivetrain and suspension engineering and development capabilities. It may also turn out that Mazda’s skyactiv system is all it’s cracked up to be, and this would make for an even more compelling case for a strategic alliance or partnership.

      One thing Mazda could and should do to hedge against currency wars is build out production facilities in some diversified locations, away from Japan, with at least one in the U.S.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        That’s great. Ironically I had a nice (GT model) Mazda 3, it was lemons and I replaced it with an Outback.

        My point was that Mazda, as a company, made corks before cars. It was a joke.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Anecdotes mean little.

        How is it relevant that Mazda made corks prior to motor vehicles? Volvo was a subsidiary of a Swedish company that exclusively made ball bearings before ever” getting into” the automobile production business.

        I’d base far more of my next purchase decision on Consumer Reports large-data pool reliability results than your one-off ownership experience anecdote.

        This isn’t to suggest that you’re not speaking truthfully of your ownership experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Lumbergh21

        The best car I have ever owned for all around enjoyment of ownership is the Mazda6 that I currently own. But, I would put more faith in the True Delta numbers that show Mazda makes reliable cars.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Lighten up, it was a joke. The 6 is a great car, in all forms. I enjoyed driving the 3 but became frustrated in the 18 months I had it. I’m not saying you should base your decision on my experience, or anyone else’s, I just found it ironic that based on your previous text I chose CR’s more preferred brand.

        Further anecdotal evidence of Honda’s decline: my 98 3.2TL has been perfect and drives great at 140k miles but I have no desire to replace it with another Honda.

      • 0 avatar
        SteveLikesBuick

        Mazda should make a deal with either Opel or PSA and take a plant over at low cost. This would allow for them to sell in Europe, import to North Africa duty free, ship to Russia and even send to the US at a greater profit given the Euro to Yen weakness. It will only get better when the US-EU Free Traze Zone becomes reality.

        Personally, I think Mazda either needs to sell out to a company like GM or work with a partner to buy out a larger rival such as Chrysler when FIAT finally implodes. It would be interesting to even see some of the smaller Japanese automakers band together into some sort of entity.

        I know BMW had an interest in medium cost mass market vehicles. I would think Mazda would make for the PERFECT buy given the companies high quality, style, and potential. It blows my mind that no other large automaker took Ford’s place.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I’ll miss the Miata.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    I believe that van is one of the vehicles spectacularly destroyed in the opening minutes of Mad Max.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I remember as kids being picked up from school in my grandparent’s Bongo van just like the picture, but in red/white two-tone. Cool van! But I guess since so few people even know that it was still in production, discontinuing it seem like a good corporate decision.

  • avatar
    alluster

    As the owner of an 04 RX-8 with a love-hate relationship for the car, i would def. miss Mazda for its nonconforming attitude but not the quality, MPG or fit and finish.

    I wish the big guys would scoop Mazda up and turn it around. Hopefully one of the Detroit 3 or even Toyota. They would get a million and half sales a year, access to the worlds third largest auto market(Japan) where GM has zero presence, good diesel tech, skyactiv tech, contemporary styling to name a few. Mazda in return can use some of GM’s excess capacity in Europe and NA to escape the strong yen. It’s a win-win for both automakers. With GM’s $39B cash reserves and Mazda’s net worth of $3.2B, GM could buy a controlling stake for less than $1.5B

    • 0 avatar
      Davekaybsc

      Toyota wouldn’t do it, not with Subaru already there. Though they’d never do it, a Honda/Mazda partnership would be interesting. Honda could help with QC issues and US production capability, and Mazda could teach Honda to build cars that are actually fun again.

    • 0 avatar
      modelt1918

      Didn’t Ford kinda try that already? Itg worked well for awhile until Ford screwed it up.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Ford provided the life support to keep Mazda in business for more than 30 years.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Ford didn’t do anything to screw Mazda. Ford helped Mazda financially and funded Mazda to develop small car platforms and engines that the two could share and that Ford could build.

        With the advent of the One Ford program though, Ford no longer needed to depend on Mazda for chassis/platform development or small fuel efficient engines as Ford of Europe can do both of those just as well or better. It didn’t make sense to keep outsourcing development to Mazda.

      • 0 avatar
        outback_ute

        Wouldn’t it be more to the point to say that Ford sold Mazda to raise cash to keep the ship afloat?

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Other then the potential engine issues my understanding is that the RX-8 is as amazingly high quality as a Miata, what issues have you had? The fit and finish inside the RX-8 is also VERY good in my opinion, except for some nice looking but bemoaned by princess-and-the-pea auto critics hard plastic.

      If Mazda would have just offered a tentatively named MX-8, I would own it. The rotary gas mileage does not work with my commute, and on top of that I was not willing to risk fighting with Mazda about a blown engine.

    • 0 avatar
      minneapolis_lakers

      You are assuming that Mazda needs a capital partner. In fact, your assumption is questionable. Mazda completed a successful rights offering a few weeks ago that raised over 2.4 billion dollars.

      Guess who bought most of the shares?

      Sumitomo – these guys have more money than God.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        “You are assuming that Mazda needs a capital partner.”

        They do indeed. The current auto market is unforgiving for bit players with no economies of scale or purchasing power or assembly plants at diverse regions to escape currency fluctuations. Merge or die.

        “Sumitomo – these guys have more money than God.”

        That is going to help Mazda how? if anything it will only push their death by a few months. Unlike GM, The Sumitomo does not have assembly plants readily available for Mazda to use in Europe, North and South America, they do not have state of the world R&D centers across the globe. The Sumitomo does not have access and distribution networks in the world’s 1st and 2nd largest auto markets. The Sumitomo will not get them access to arguably one of the best engines in the world. Being acquired by GM gets Mazda all of that, not to mention purchasing power. GM needs Mazda as much as Mazda needs them. The worlds largest auto maker cannot be selling less than 5000 units annually in South East Asia’s biggest market.

        The biggest threat for Mazda is the rising yen with barely any capacity outside Japan. Couple of billion in capital is not going to magically create assembly plants in Mexico overnight.

        Comparisons to SAAB are not valid. GM propped up SAAB for over 20 years, gave them access to engines, platforms and capital. SAAB squandered all of that away.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        Edit: BTW Mazda or the Japanese are not going to be too crazy about being owned or run by an American company. Would rather die than follow orders from Americans. This funny picture sums Mazda bosses and japanese officials reaction to a GM takeover.

        http://www3.picturepush.com/photo/a/7875836/640/7875836.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        KitaIkki

        Sumitomo has always been Mazda’s banker. Sumitomo saved Mazda when the 1973 oil crisis killed the market for the thirsty rotary engine. And Sumitomo arranged for Ford to invest in Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      Because that went soooo well for Saab.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      alluster, I own a RX-8 that has been trouble free for nearly 7 years. I’ve just done routine maintenance. I will drive this car as long as I am able to, as there’s no other car that has its characteristics of an amazing handling car that can double as a daily driver, and that does great in the snow with winter tires. I also get 280 to 300 miles per tank combined driving (6 speed manual), which isn’t exactly fuel efficient, but at 20mpg+, it’s not the horrific combined mileage others appear to suffer (and I do not baby it; lugging a rotary is abuse; they need to be flogged hard).

      I would put Mazda’s interior quality up against any other manufacturer in the same price zone, and either give Mazda the win or a tie, and this includes Volkswagen and Hyundai (which has caught up with and passed much of its competition).

      Why do I sound so confident?

      I’ve just been on 2 car searches trying to find the right vehicle for two family members.

      The next time you get a chance, compare the piano black trim to the faux painted silver trim in others, your suede inserts in the door to the textured plastic ones in others, your steering wheel materials to those in other makes, your gauges and the materials that surround them (in the RX-8 they actually appear to be real metal whereas its tons of cheap plastic painted silver in others), and the feel of the knobs and dials in your Mazda to those in Hondas, Toyotas (I had a 2010 Camry rental that was beyond bad in terms of interior quality), the materials and operation of the door handles, or the materials surrounding the center IP, the stick shift, and even the lower portions of the dash to the competition.

      In most cases, the Mazda is better than the competition. The cheapening of materials in new car interiors is incredible. With few exceptions, such as a Cadillac SRX (I was surprised at the fit/finish and solidness of levers and knobs), the 2012 Camry (which isn’t outrageously good, but is far better than the last gen), and the new Sonata (which I found to be very, very good, putting many competitors to shame), your RX-8 is better than the competition, and new competition at that.

      I do plan on checking out the new VW Jetta GLI that TTAC reviewed twice now. That interior actually looks well put together, like VWs prior generations.

      Also, I am not a fan of the Mazda 3s interior, but the new CX-5 is great in terms of dash, controls, steering wheel and center stack, although the rear seat was less exemplary.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        @Deadweight – Glad to hear you love your 8. We do love ours and still own it though we bought two other cars since. We nicknamed it the “Red Rocket” or call it a poor mans Vette (costs half as the Vette, with half the horsepower, and half the MPG!!). Bought the car as a gift for my Girlfriend in 2009. She loved the 6 Spd, leather racing seats, sunroof and navi. Once the novelty wore off, we found the car lacking for several reasons. For her, the clutch was hard to work on heels, seats were hard and uncomfortable with no head support, the car blows cold air in winter and the AC blows hot air in summer, engine heats up too quickly, both the sun visors broke, the AC knobs falls off, unforgiving on potholes or bumps, condensation in the taillamps (my redneck fix was to drill a hole), frothy condensation on the dipstick when its cold out, and fuel dilution in oil were some of the issues we had. The real MPG was lower than the already abysmal EPA rating (flogging the cr** out it at every chance isn’t helping). Her 4700 lb Acadia seats 7, tows 5000 LBS, has 60 more HP and gets better fuel economy. We both have daily commute <6 miles, so MPG really doesn't matter and we use my 02 Focus for all road trips outside town. I am pretty sure you will agree with me on the inevitable engine death every 60K miles and dangerous visibility at night when backing up. The red rocket is now a driveway ornament. We put a whopping 14K miles in 3 years. A real shame cause we love the car and honestly didn't have to pay for anything beyond maintenance. All said the RX-8 showed us Mazda is run by car guys and engineers and not business men, who are not afraid to try new things and bring us car people amazing cars at an affordable price, a feeling i share for GM to some extend. 6 models above 550 HP, a 550 HP wagon with a stick, all at a price most people can afford.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Wow, I have just under 64k miles and not a single one of those problems.

        I’ve owned three Nissans, one Honda, one Subaru, two Fords, one Chevy, one Pontiac, one Dodge, two Jeeps, and this Mazda has been more reliable than all but my 1994 Honda Civic EX 5 speed manual (great, great car).

        And mine is an ’05.

        A/C is cold in winter, heater works great in the great white north, and no trim problems at all.

        I do realize one’s mileage may vary.

        If you go over to RX8club, there are quite a few with original motors now over 200,000 miles, with no problems.

        I have to disagree on the ride quality; mine is an ’05, and I know they did some minor changes to the 2009 through 2011s as far as the suspension, but unless you bought an R3 which has a very stiff suspension, this car has the best balance of handling and ride comfort I’ve ever driven (ask Michael Karesh, or his dad, who prefers it to his Cadillac CTS).

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I wonder how much of its future Mazda squandered with its slavish dedication to the rotary engine.

    Sure, it made great strides over the decades, but it never kept pace with advances in reciprocating engines; this trend was obvious twenty years ago.

    Skyactiv is a huge misnomer, and I think the ballyhoo about it is rubbish.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Not just in lost development costs, but in lost sales of cars that could have moved much better with conventional engines.

      The RX-8 is a stretched NC Miata – an inline-4 will fit. Using the RX-8 structure Mazda could have had, since 2004, a monopoly on an 4 cylinder four seat coupe with rear wheel drive for under $30K, with the FR-S only finally coming into that market.

      Instead it got stuck putting 10 year warranties on painfully slow selling RX-8s, that it had to discontinue because of emissions issues.

      Skyactive is not a savior for the company, just a necessary step for possible survival.

      • 0 avatar
        Norma

        Whoever said FR-S is a four seat coupe must not have sat inside.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        I’m considering getting an FR-S, but in many ways the RX-8 was a better car 8 years earlier. More realistic back seat, double wishbone front suspension, dedicated RWD platform, not adapted AWD platform. Mazda KILLED the potential market by not offering a more practical engine.

        People act like the rotary made sense in the RX-8, but it was really incredbily stupid. Mazda designed the kind of 4 seat hard top that people would own as a daily driver, and then killed the daily driver potential with the engine.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        I honestly think the biggest, but rarely mentioned, problems with the RX8 was the styling.

        Personally, that’s what turned me off of the car. The cutsy circle-based interior was dorky for a $30K sports car. Outside, those horrible circular wheel arches just looked dreadful. If the car had had more style, it would have done better. Maybe not well, but better.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      Much of the Renesis development happened during off-hours by a small, dedicated group of engineers. The capital investment in Renesis development is probably a lot smaller than you’d believe.

      • 0 avatar
        Lumbergh21

        I loved my RX7 and while it really didn’t fit what I needed at the time, both my wife and I loved the RX8. The engines are different and that is likely what kills them. People are too stupid to maintain them like they need to and then are surprised when an oil starved engine blows its seals. From an engineering perspective, the Rotary engine is amazingly simple. Because of the way it transfers energy to the drive shaft it can run at much higher rpms (another characteristic that freaks most people out, running a car up past 8,000 rpm) without the higher material costs associated with all other engines.

        For all of the people stating that an inline 4 would have been a much better choice for the RX8, have you seen the size of a 1.8L rotary engine compared to a 2 or 2.3L inline 4? The rotary engine is much smaller. It was this small size (and weight) that allowed Mazda to set the engine way back in the engine compartment and design a car with 50:50 weight distribution front to rear. The draw of the RX8 was the handling and the fact that it still had usable rear seats. Change that engine and you diminish the handling and increase the size of the car (the I4 is bigger than the 1.8L rotary).

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @Lumbergh21:

        While your description of the rotary engine’s virtues are technically true, they don’t resonate with the buying public. The RX7 and RX8 weren’t really known for their great handling characteristics, low center of gravity, or high RPM engines. Cars like the Miata (ironically) and S2000 (9000 RPM redline) did those things better, and were much more reliable.

        By the way, rotary engine failures weren’t only caused by negligent owners, but in any case, the American public simply won’t tolerate high-maintenance cars for long. Unfortunately for Mazda, the rotary cars only appealed to True Believers.

        The same (technical) arguments in favor of cars like the Chevy Volt fall on deaf ears with most people. Once they see the price they go buy something else. In the case of the rotary, few buyers were willing to take the chance on a low-volume car with known reliability issues, that didn’t offer actual street benefits in exchange for the risks.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    I’m still wondering why Ford spun Mazda off a few years ago; it seemed like a successful, symbiotic relationship between automakers if there ever was one.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      I just read the book “American Icon”… it said Alan Mulally was determined to prune every brand but Ford from the lineup, Mazda included. Separation would have happened earlier but Derrick Kuzak argued that Ford needed Mazda for its product-development practices.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      A big reason is cash. When Ford was mortgaging its very soul, it needed cash from every source it could get.

  • avatar
    elimgarak

    sometimes i regret not buying a 08 mazda 3 over the 08 civic i bought. I just couldn’t get over the 3′s interior which was quite poor in comparison to the civic. Mind you it seems the ’12 civic has fallen in interior quality to 3 levels.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Mazda was doomed the moment Ford cut ties, and frankly there’s not much reason for them to be around anymore. Their lineup is okay at best, the only excitement they have is the Mazda3, and it’s no where near as attractive as the old one. Same with the Mazda6.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    Hyundai could use some Mazda DNA. Just sayin’.

  • avatar
    Terry

    avatar
    gslippy
    March 23rd, 2012 at 5:31 pm
    “Skyactiv is a huge misnomer, and I think the ballyhoo about it is rubbish.”

    Gslippy, can you explain the reasons behind your statement? Have you driven a Skyactive3?

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    Its a tough market out there. I think Mazda lost a lot of their market with poor dealerships and replacement parts that were overpriced. I owned two mazda’s over the years and would never get another. Great engines and transmission, good handling but everything attached to body is junk. having the radiator’s go on two cars at 30,000 miles is B.S. Brakes that cost a young fortune at the dealer to have replaced and i could go on forever. My wife’s 2008 Volvo is cheaper to maintain at the dealer then the Mazda was. I wish them well now that i don’t own one.

  • avatar
    minneapolis_lakers

    Folks, sorry to break the doom and gloom, but Mazda isn’t going anywhere. They are part of one of the most powerful conglomerates on earth — the Sumitomo keiretsu.

    Personally I do wish Akio Toyoda kun would add Mazda to the Toyota empire – it would be a dream powertrain combination with HSG+Skyactiv; it’s also logical since Toyota is part of the Mitsui keiretsu which has close financial ties with the Sumitomo keiretsu.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Ahhhh. Nice catch.

      I try to stay up to date on keiretsu news, but had completely forgotten that Mazda is a protectorate of Sumitomo, which renders any questions about Mazda’s ongoing financial condition moot, AFAIC.

      Sumitomo Mitsui To Overtake Ford as Mazda’s Top Shareholder:

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-18/sumitomo-mitsui-financial-says-it-will-become-top-shareholder-in-mazda.html

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I don’t think Toyota control would be good for Mazda. Toyota has probably helped Subaru sales, but it has come at the cost of the uniqueness and personality of Subaru vehicles according to most Subie aficionados.

      Subaru at least has the rally heritage and AWD to fall back on for those looking for a not-quite-an-appliance Japanese car. If Mazda lost their ‘zoom-zoom’ spirit there would be no reason to look at them compared to Nissan, Honda, or, well, Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      I don’t think they are going anywhere, but I do worry that they will have to cut back on the fun R&D.

      It sounds like they really wanted to go forward with a new RX7, and I think that’s got to be a hard case to make right now.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    I, too, hope that Mazda can hold it together. Maybe making them in Mexico will help.

    Mazda has always made excellent vehicles and their collaboration with Ford has done wonders for Ford. The Mazda V6, the Mazda six-speed automatic, the Mazda6, the Mazda3, all resulted in truly fine vehicles wearing the Ford badge. Mazda made a lot of money for Ford.

    Who can forget the Miata and the Wankel RX-8? While the NSU Wankel out of the Ro80 displayed the same problems in the RX-8, the RX-8 was lightyears ahead of the Ro80. I would have liked to own an RX-8 in its day, but it was not to be.

    The Mazda5 is another example of a great little mini-minivan. My daughter owns one (a Sport) and it has been an excellent vehicle.

    It’s a real shame that Mazda never caught on in America. Mazda products are outstanding value for the money.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The Ford 4 cylinders were developed with Mazda, the V6 engines are Ford designs. The 6 speed traditional auto used in most Ford vehicles today was he transmission jointly developed with GM.

      Mazda uses the Ford designed V6s, and has made some of their own adjustments to tuning, and even manufacturers some themselves just as Ford and Mazda separately manufacture the Mazda based 4 cylinders.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I sure do hope Mazda survives as I love my little P5 and can’t wait to take it on a road trip, even if for the afternoon somewhere.

    So far, my little Mazda seems to have held up very well for 111,670 miles on the odo, and that includes the interior.

    A look online recently revealed that for less than $300, I can get a complete timing belt kit, including valve cover gasket and water pump and accessory belts. My local Mazda dealer says a timing belt replacement is $400, which I find quite reasonable.

    Also Mazda seems to sell quite well around Puget Sound as I see lots of 3′s, many 6′s and some Mazda5′s and of course, the Miata and I still see a bunch of the older Miatas still on the road too.

    I’d like to be able to consider them when I can buy a new car in the next few years.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    mazda still sells the Ford Ranger clone, the BT50 outside of the US

    but since it looks like a Mazda 3 compact truck and these are bought mainly by blue collar men and white collar guys who wish they were blue collar I doubt it will last out this generation…

  • avatar
    PDX-Tim

    The last Mazda I owned was the last Mazda I’ll own. A 1999 626 LX that I bought brand spanking new and started coming apart at the seams within two years of purchase. Everything from A-Z went wrong with that car, it was a nightmare.

    I also owned a 1999 Miata for about a year. It was a fun reliable car but not very comfortable and a nightmare to drive in heavy wet weather traffic.

  • avatar
    outback_ute

    I doubt they’d do a new generation van for $130m! The old one is very old, a couple-times freshened 30+ year old design. IMO they are better off in passenger cars than commodity-level commercial vans. At least with the BT-50 pickup there is a private vehicle and higher trim level market for better profitability.

  • avatar
    Pastor Glenn

    I know this is going to sound crazy, but Mazda’s best bet might be to have Sumitomo keiretsu swallow it’s pride, go in with Mitsubishi keiretsu as well as Suzuki and Isuzu. Mitsubishi-Suzuki Motors (selling Suzuki cars worldwide, Mitsubishi cars in select markets, and Mazda cars in select markets, as well as Isuzu vans and trucks worldwide) would be a formidable company. Mazda could share the development of their new upcoming Mazda 6 with Mitsubishi in the US, and build the cars in Normal, Illinois (in much the same way that Hyundai and Kia share components under the skin with the Sonata and Optima). Mazda’s upcoming Mexican plant would be of use of course. Shared plants worldwide would help the new fully merged company to survive in the upcoming economic downturn. One of the huge advantages that both Suzuki and Mitsubishi have that Mazda lacks, are factories in low-cost nations. It may seem odd to Americans to consider that Suzuki might best be the senior name used, but this is not so crazy when you consider that Suzuki-Maruti is the largest selling car in India and India is one of the up and coming auto markets in the world, and that Suzuki is best known as a small car manufacturer. Mitsubishi and Mazda could be the up-market brands in whatever nations they are best known.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    If Ford won’t bring the new Ranger Whay is mazda waiting for with the BT-50 Truck?
    If you bring it they (TTAC B&B) will come. As long as it’s used.

  • avatar
    cutchemist42

    Yeah the RX8 was a great car that for its intended market had the wrong engine. The engine was put in a car that had appeal as a daily driver. When people drove the engine like a daily driver, the engine developed problems. Not only that, Mazda was recommending too thin of engine oil to meet emission standards; that same thin oil is the reason the engines failed and the warranty was needed.

    I worked at Mazda dealer for 1 summer and every mechanic who saw a girl bring in an automatic RX8, they made sure to drive the car hard for 5 minutes. It wasn’t for enjoyment but an effort to keep the engine healthy. Unless driven hard, those engines suffer.

    The rotary engine only belongs in a dedicated sports car like the RX7s of the past because no one is mistaking it as a daily driver nor driving it like a daily driver. The RX8 should have had something like the Japanese spec FS-DE engine.

    Anyone know if the RX8 community does I4 engine swaps?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      My brothers sold Mazda out of their West Coast dealerships for three decades but the Mazda buyers were always far fewer than buyers of Ford, Toyota, etc.

      For instance, the Mazda 626 and 929 were far better in all aspects than any Camry or Cressida of that era, yet Mazda never could grab the brass ring. And that continued on for the decades that followed.

      Re: engine conversions. There are custom shops in the Los Angeles area that will plop a Mazda V6 into your RX-8. Best thing to do is look at the on-line Yellow Pages under Automotive Repair – Custom.

      I had one of them, in Bellflower, swap a busted diesel V8 out of a Cadillac Seville and replace it with a rebuilt gasoline Olds 350 V8. Worked great!

      Reasonable, too, for two-days of work, from start to finish. Hauled it in early one day, drove it across country at the end of the next day.


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