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.