The Truth About Cars » Mazda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:51:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mazda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Take My (Suspension) Abuse And Like It? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-take-suspension-abuse-like/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-take-suspension-abuse-like/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:58:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949833   Sam writes: Hello, I have a 2006 Mazda 3 S with 120,000 miles on it. I live in Oakland Ca, where the pot holes shoot back. I blew out a front strut a last year and had both front struts replaced. After replacement, one of the struts squeaks like a rusty spring at slow […]

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Or not? (photo courtesy: www.mazda3forums.com)

Sam writes:

Hello,

I have a 2006 Mazda 3 S with 120,000 miles on it. I live in Oakland Ca, where the pot holes shoot back. I blew out a front strut a last year and had both front struts replaced. After replacement, one of the struts squeaks like a rusty spring at slow speeds and is annoying. What is actually driving me crazy is a week ago the other front strut started making loud thunking under acceleration at slow speeds.

My mechanic, whom is one of the good ones, replaced both front shock mounts, assuming this would fix the problem. It didn’t, but one of them was all shredded. Now, I feel like I’m going down the rabbit hole, there are engine mounts and sway bar bushings that can be replaced, but this shouldn’t be so complicated.

My car is supposed to take my abuse and like it.

Sajeev answers:

Excuse me Son, but when in the history of Autoblogging did a (non-Ranger based) high mileage Mazda ever take suspension abuse? Have you not listened to my screeds re: Panther Love?

Stupidity aside, engine mounts are kinda easy to check and it’s likely your problem, as discussed before.  And sway bar bushings are cheap and usually easy to swap. This car is an 8-ish year old non-Panther with over 100k on the clock. Aside from big things like engines/transmissions/etc, be cool with any wear item failing at this point. It won’t happen often, but being “cool with it” is the right state of mind at this age.

Your mechanic is probably doing the right thing.  Problem is, cars aren’t built like they used to.

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Not built like they used to? Damn right!  No more tune ups before 100k, engines are that good.  Suspensions don’t need regular lubrication, though DIY-ers wouldn’t mind a greasable zerk fitting renaissance. Read the owner’s manual?  Only if I can’t get the dash to talk to my smarty-phone or adjust the clock for daylight savings time.

How does this prove my original point?

Cars are now so good that we set ‘em and forget ‘em.  Even with tighter suspensions, higher revving engines, loads of fragile(ish) electronics and idiotically thin tires, a modern car with over 100k will be in better shape than one from 25+ years ago. Especially when applying the same amount of maintenance. Hell, good luck getting that older car to even run past 100k with a modern car’s servicing regiment. 

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

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Mazda2 Sedan Gives Hints To Next Scion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda2-sedan-gives-hints-next-scion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda2-sedan-gives-hints-next-scion/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:40:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949377 The long-rumored Mazda2-based Scion is a step closer to reality, with Mazda unveiling the sedan version of the Mazda2. With the Scion iM serving as the hatchback in Scion’s new lineup, the next Scion will be a traditional sedan. The unnamed Scion will be built at Mazda’s Mexican factory, and is likely to retain the […]

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The long-rumored Mazda2-based Scion is a step closer to reality, with Mazda unveiling the sedan version of the Mazda2.

With the Scion iM serving as the hatchback in Scion’s new lineup, the next Scion will be a traditional sedan. The unnamed Scion will be built at Mazda’s Mexican factory, and is likely to retain the 1.5L Skyactiv engine for superior fuel economy.

 

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NHTSA, USDOT Demand National Recall Action From Takata, Automakers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949217 While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity […]

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While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity zone previously established in an earlier recall.

The NHTSA also issued a General Order to the airbag supplier and 10 automakers — BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota — requiring all to submit documents regarding “completed, ongoing or planned testing” of the supplier’s inflators outside of the current recall zone, with the goal of having all involved come correct with the agency and the American public about what they all plan to do about the airbags. Takata alone received a Special Order, regarding the propellent used in its airbags.

Responses to both orders are due by December 5.

Three of the 10 automakers involved with the General Order — Ford, GM and Honda — may likely have the hardest time replacing Takata completely. Per Bloomberg, the trio worked closely with the supplier to develop special features for their vehicles — Ford’s Adaptive Steering system, GM’s front center airbags — features that would take a while to work out with a new supplier if a deeper relationship were to take hold.

Meanwhile, only 6 percent of the 8 million vehicles equipped with Takata’s airbags have been repaired thus far, a rate critics of the supplier and its client base find appalling. The pace isn’t likely to quicken, however; Toyota says it would take a year at minimum to test and replace its units with those from other suppliers, while Nissan said doing the same for itself wasn’t feasible.

Returning to the Beltway, Reuters reports Takata had presented documents to the NHTSA linked to a 2009 accident involving its airbags, only for the agency to decline, as it had closed its investigation on the supplier and Honda, whose vehicle was involved in said accident. The NHTSA informed the news agency that the documents “would not have added to the agency’s understanding of the issues involved in that particular investigation.”

Speaking of Honda, senior executive Rick Schostek admitted before Congress that his company failed to notify the NHTSA or its customer base about the issues with Takata’s airbags, promising to offer consumers a loaner if their affected vehicles are repaired quickly due to supply shortages. As for Takata’s Hiroshi Shimizu, Automotive News says he went on the defensive, going so far as to claim that it was “hard” for him to “answer yes or no” to several questions asked by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, much to the dismay and bemusement of the committee members.

Prior to the call for a nationwide recall, the regional-specific actions, as well as the NHTSA’s order to consumers to have their airbags replaced immediately, contributed to public anxiety over whether or not the airbag before them would disfigure or kill in an accident. According to Bloomberg, Takata itself believes a national recall would only further exacerbate those fears, potentially diverting resources “from where they’re needed, putting lives at risk.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports the Monclova, Mexico facility where the defective units were assembled had issues from the moment it opened its doors in 2000. Aside from the units made in 2001, 2002 and 2012, an explosion in 2006 — one some workers claim was fueled by the same ammonium nitrate used in Takata’s airbags as a propellent — jump-started a production run where quality slipped against hourly quotas. Whether the top brass knew of the problems, however, is a different story, as it never sent permanent staff to Mexico from its headquarters in Japan.

Over in Germany, BMW is working with the supplier to have its airbags made closer to home in Freiberg, transferring production from Mexico. The move only applies to BMW, who expects additional production to come online by mid-December. Alternative arrangements would take two years and “divert attention from current recall efforts,” per the automaker.

Finally, U.S. Air Force First Lieutenant Stephanie Erdman gave her testimony before Congress, detailing what had happened to her when a vehicle turned in front of her 2002 Honda Civic in September 2013. According to The Detroit News, the resulting injuries and ongoing surgeries led to a lawsuit against Honda, whose certified dealership in Destin, Fla. failed to notify Erdman of the February 2010 driver’s side airbag recall or what would happen if the airbag deployed in the wrong conditions, nor did the dealership replace the unit in question. She also feared that once the spotlight subsides on Takata et al, the problems would still be there, and urged Congress to continue to hold all accountable for their actions.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Mazda CX-5 Unmasked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda-cx-5-unmasked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda-cx-5-unmasked/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:05:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948169 Completing the Mazda trifecta of the all-new CX-3 and refreshed Mazda6 comes the revised CX-5. The 2016 update gives the crossover a face updated for the times, LED accents, 19-inch wheels, and nine colors from which to paint your world. As for the interior, higher-quality materials, improved NVH and seating, and more places to store […]

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Completing the Mazda trifecta of the all-new CX-3 and refreshed Mazda6 comes the revised CX-5.

The 2016 update gives the crossover a face updated for the times, LED accents, 19-inch wheels, and nine colors from which to paint your world. As for the interior, higher-quality materials, improved NVH and seating, and more places to store all the things are now available, as well as an electronic parking brake to keep things in place.

Under the hood, two engines deliver the power to the front or all four wheels: a 2-liter four-pot, and a 2.5-liter variant that is expected to save the driver from spending more at the pump than necessary.

Finally, the cyborgs in your life can enjoy the automaker’s Mazda Connect infotainment system, as well as the i-Activsense safety suite, which makes driving a little easier with features like radar-based cruise control and smart braking.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Mazda6 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda6-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda6-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:50:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948121 Meet the new boss, almost the same as the old boss. Refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Mazda6 has a revised smile, LED headlamps, and nine colors from which to choose. Meanwhile, the inside provides the driver with a first-ever-for-the-brand electric parking brake, minimized gaps between interior panels, and a 10 percent reduction in […]

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Meet the new boss, almost the same as the old boss.

Refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Mazda6 has a revised smile, LED headlamps, and nine colors from which to choose. Meanwhile, the inside provides the driver with a first-ever-for-the-brand electric parking brake, minimized gaps between interior panels, and a 10 percent reduction in NVH levels on rougher roads, 25 percent on properly paved highways.

Motivation is reduced to one engine: the 2.5-liter four-pot capable of moving 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque to the front. Six-speed auto and manual transmissions make the connection possible.

Tech goodies include the Mazda Connect infotainment system and the automaker’s i-Activsense safety suite, which has features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and smart braking.

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Los Angeles 2014: Mazda CX-3 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-mazda-cx-3-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-mazda-cx-3-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:24:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947393 Mazda’s sub-compact crossover will go head to head with the Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Honda HR-V when it debuts next year. It might be the best expression of Mazda’s design language so far. Powered by a 2.0L Skyactiv engine making 155 horsepower, the CX-3 is slated to have an optional AWD system, and a […]

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Mazda’s sub-compact crossover will go head to head with the Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Honda HR-V when it debuts next year. It might be the best expression of Mazda’s design language so far.

Powered by a 2.0L Skyactiv engine making 155 horsepower, the CX-3 is slated to have an optional AWD system, and a 6-speed automatic online. On the other hand, the automatic is the same excellent unit in other Mazda products, and blends the best attributes of the dual-clutch and traditional automatic gearboxes. Inside, the same excellent HMI Commander from the Mazda3 is used, as well as the instrument cluster and tablet-like LCD screen.

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TTAC Long Term Update: 2015 Mazda3 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-update-2015-mazda3-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-update-2015-mazda3-sport/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 19:21:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944873 What was supposed to be a milestone in my life – taking delivery of my first new car - ended up being thrown off by a slight mishap during PDI. And one that raises questions about Mazda’s Mexican operations. Before I took delivery of my new Mazda3, myself and my Dad gave the car a […]

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What was supposed to be a milestone in my life – taking delivery of my first new car - ended up being thrown off by a slight mishap during PDI. And one that raises questions about Mazda’s Mexican operations.

Before I took delivery of my new Mazda3, myself and my Dad gave the car a thorough once over on the dealer lot. There, we noticed the faint gouge just above the rear badge, as well as some white marks in and around the badge (less visible in the photo). I decided not to take delivery of the car and let Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda’s PDI guy work out the problem.

The next day, I got a call from the dealer, saying the Mazda would replace the hatch with an entirely new unit. It turned out that the original hatch wasn’t sprayed correctly, and Mazda would send a new, pre-painted unit to replace it. The 2.0L versions are built at Mazda’s all-new Salamanca, Mexico facility. Perhaps there are some teething problems with the plant. One OEM quality engineer I spoke to suggested that there may have been pre-delivery damage. But according to the legal disclosure given to me at delivery, there is none. Should it emerge, I have legal recourse.

Almost immediately, I ordered snow tires – and the timing was perfect, given that we have our first snowfall today. On the advice of my tire vendor, I went with the Hankook W419 RS, which are apparently performance oriented winter tires. We’ll see how they fare.

Thanks to Jason Donio and Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda for their assistance. They can be reached at 416-789-4521.

Thanks to Jason and Mitch at Tirespot. While they tires were purchased at retail with no discounts, I cannot recommend them enough. 416-283-1300.

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Mazda Offers Unlimited Mileage Warranty In Canada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-offers-unlimited-mileage-warranty-canada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-offers-unlimited-mileage-warranty-canada/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:50:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944825 Starting in the model year 2015, Mazda Canada is extending its new vehicle warranty program to include unlimited mileage, while retaining the time limits on its coverage. While the changes to the 3 year bumper to bumper and 5 year powertrain warranty will be welcome news, the important one for Canadians is the 7 year […]

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Starting in the model year 2015, Mazda Canada is extending its new vehicle warranty program to include unlimited mileage, while retaining the time limits on its coverage.

While the changes to the 3 year bumper to bumper and 5 year powertrain warranty will be welcome news, the important one for Canadians is the 7 year anti-perforation coverage, which no longer has a mileage limit. Scarred by the legacy of the first-generation Mazda3 and its notorious corrosion problems, the new coverage should bolster the brand in the eyes of Canadians, who are in a constant battle against rust, thanks to winter weather and liberal use of road salt.

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Mazda6 Facelift Leaks Prior To Los Angeles Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda6-facelift-leaks-prior-los-angeles-auto-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda6-facelift-leaks-prior-los-angeles-auto-show/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:17:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944641 While the styling upgrades for the facelifted Mazda6 are modest, the changes to the interior are the more significant news. The 6 will ditch the antiquated infotainment system currently employed, in favor of the HMI Commander system used in the new Mazda3, featuring an iDrive-like knob and a large LCD screen. The Mazada6 only debuted […]

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While the styling upgrades for the facelifted Mazda6 are modest, the changes to the interior are the more significant news.

The 6 will ditch the antiquated infotainment system currently employed, in favor of the HMI Commander system used in the new Mazda3, featuring an iDrive-like knob and a large LCD screen. The Mazada6 only debuted 18 months ago, which should give you an indication of how competitive the mid-size market is right now – and how intent Mazda is on staying on top of product changes.

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TTAC Long-Term Review: 2015 Mazda3 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-review-2015-mazda3-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-review-2015-mazda3-sport/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943689 First it was Jack. Then my Grandma. Now it’s my turn to buy a new car. The idea of owning a pure, elemental sports car is romantic and enticing. But the reality of living with one as your daily driver in a climate that alternates between stiflingly humid and frigid enough to freeze your bone […]

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First it was Jack. Then my Grandma. Now it’s my turn to buy a new car.

The idea of owning a pure, elemental sports car is romantic and enticing. But the reality of living with one as your daily driver in a climate that alternates between stiflingly humid and frigid enough to freeze your bone marrow is another matter. Half the time is spent stuck in traffic with the sun delivering enough UV rays to turn your scalp the same shade as a lobster. The other half is spent shivering in the barely insulated cabin, dodging distracted drivers and all-season shod cars while trying not to panic your passenger with consecutive attempts at threshold braking (hooray, no ABS). It was time for something different. For now. I will revisit things once the ND MX-5 is released.

The Miata went up for sale, and like any clean, rust-free Miata in Toronto, it went for a pretty penny. I promptly took the money, did not pass go or put $2000 down on a nice car. Instead, I socked it away in my retirement account. In line with my new, adult priorities, my criteria for a new car was such:

1) Cheap

2) Reasonably fun to drive

3) Cheap

4) Fuel efficient

5) Cheap

I briefly considered a Volkswagen GTI, but at the time, premium gas was over $6 a gallon, and the only 5-door version in Canada cost a hair under $35,000. I resolved to move on to a Ford Fiesta ST, but by the time I was ready to buy, interest rates went from 1.49 percent to 5.59% for financing and 7.19% for leasing. I had no intention of paying $500 CAD a month over 60 months to own that particular car. Previously, Ford Employee Pricing and favorable rates would have made the car sit in the high end of the “affordable” range for me, but now it sat well outside that bracket.

Earlier in the year, I’d driven a Mazda3 with the 2.0L and 6-speed manual, and came away just as impressed as I was at the launch event. It wasn’t particularly quick, but it felt gutsier than my NB Miata. The handling was as brilliant as I remembered, and the steering reminded me of my beloved 1997 NA, with a custom alignment, minus the darty sneeze-and-you-change-lanes feel that came with having 5 degrees of caster dialed in. More importantly, it was fairly comfortable, had a real trunk and got 35 mpg in mixed driving on regular gas – far better than the premium-swilling NB ever returned.

Somehow, my local dealer, Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda, had a number of manual transmission Mazda3s (and Mazda 6s, and Mazda5s for that matter) on the lot. I was all set on a Crystal Blue Mica sedan when I had a change of heart at the last minute, and took the hatchback model, seen here, in the same deep navy blue. This one was spec’d exactly how I wanted: 6-speed manual, the Convenience Package (with automatic headlamps and the all-important heated seats, among other things). No sunroof. The big, tablet-like screen with the HMI Commander interface. With the various incentives, I paid just a hair above invoice.

Confession time: I actually leased it. With a 60 percent residual, the ability to write part of the car off and no desire to own it out of the 3 year warranty, I opted for the (substantially) lower monthly payments. Many of you will counter that leasing is akin to a long-term rental, and you are correct. But it also ended up being cheaper than getting a Zipcar for two days out of every month.

I’m sure I could have also paid cash for a used car, but I wanted to free myself from trips to the mechanic, repair bills and the hassles associated with all of those factors. And with a interest rate of 0.29% from Mazda, it’s effectively free, meaning there’s better places to park my money.

I plan on detailing my experiences with the car for as long as I am driving it. I’m proud that myself, Jack and other contributors can and do bring you real world impressions of cars that we have paid our own money for. I’m also happen to be driving something akin to a wagon, even if most of you don’t regard it as such.

 

 

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Mazda RX Successor Gone To The Big Junkyard In The Sky(activ) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-rx-successor-gone-big-junkyard-skyactiv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-rx-successor-gone-big-junkyard-skyactiv/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:06:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943577 What you’re seeing above isn’t the rendered visage of the next Mazda rotary sports car, but the leaked fascia of the new CX-5 crossover. Better get used to it. In an interview with Automotive News, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai shot down the idea of a revived RX-7, RX-8 or RX-anything, stating “We don’t have that kind […]

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What you’re seeing above isn’t the rendered visage of the next Mazda rotary sports car, but the leaked fascia of the new CX-5 crossover. Better get used to it.

In an interview with Automotive News, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai shot down the idea of a revived RX-7, RX-8 or RX-anything, stating

“We don’t have that kind of vehicle in our future product plan…If you increase the number of segments, then the resources we can allocate to each will decline and that will prevent us from developing truly good products.The company is still in the process of improving its financial structure. We want to focus our limited resources on the Skyactiv products that we have today.”

For a small, independent auto maker with limited resources, this is a sound decision. At any given auto maker, there are finite funds that must be allocated across the company for different aspects of new model development (design, engineering, marketing, manufacturing, regulatory concerns, parts, service, retail etc). For an outfit like Mazda, these are best spent on volume models like the CX-5, Mazda 3 and the upcoming CX-3 crossover. All of the “fun” money was likely poured into the next MX-5, which uses a bespoke architecture that cannot be amortized via other models in the Mazda lineup.

 

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Ford Courier http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1976-ford-courier/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1976-ford-courier/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=941073 After the ’79 Chevy LUV Junkyard Find we saw yesterday, it seems appropriate to follow up with another Malaise Era Japanese small pickup with Detroit badging. I found this Ford-badged Mazda B1800 just a couple of rows away from the LUV. It’s three years older and much rougher than the Chevy (Isuzu). Vehicles mostly don’t […]

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18 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAfter the ’79 Chevy LUV Junkyard Find we saw yesterday, it seems appropriate to follow up with another Malaise Era Japanese small pickup with Detroit badging. I found this Ford-badged Mazda B1800 just a couple of rows away from the LUV. It’s three years older and much rougher than the Chevy (Isuzu).


17 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinVehicles mostly don’t rust much in the Denver area, thanks to the single-digit humidity, but this one appears to have spent some time in the Midwest.
01 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs is often the case with junked vehicles, all sorts of stuff belonging to the previous owner was still inside. Here’s a notebook with records of fuel and oil purchases stretching back to the mid-1980s. Check out the sub-dollar-per-gallon prices of February 1986; while this era’s crash in oil prices was a boon for me as I delivered pizzas in my 351W-powered Mercury Cyclone, it was also the primary cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union as well as the sales death of little trucks like this one.
03 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinReally cheap new-vehicle buyers in the 1970s didn’t want to spend several hundred bucks for a factory AM radio— yes, audio gear was expensive back then, even before the vehicle manufacturers’ markups— so they got the “radio delete” package and then added a relatively cheap aftermarket rig like this Philco.


Imagine Johnnie Taylor buzzing tinnily out of that dash-mounted whizzer cone!
06 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe driver’s door is hanging by a thread. This truck gave its all.
11 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe hubcaps stayed with it to the end, though.

01 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1976 Ford Courier Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Piston Slap: Mazda’s Rust and Tire Size Trust Gap? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-mazdas-rust-tire-size-trust-gap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-mazdas-rust-tire-size-trust-gap/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:42:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939433 Greg writes: Hello Sajeev, David Holzman says I should write to you about my Mazda concerns. 1. Concern #1. In two out of three dealers there was significant rust at the center of the wheels due to the wheel caps not having been put on. I only took three pictures, but essentially: at New Country […]

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Curb Appeal? (photo courtesy: Greg)

Greg writes:

Hello Sajeev, David Holzman says I should write to you about my Mazda concerns.

1. Concern #1. In two out of three dealers there was significant rust at the center of the wheels due to the wheel caps not having been put on. I only took three pictures, but essentially: at New Country Mazda in Saratoga Springs NY 100% of the Mazdas had no wheelcaps on in the lot and were all showing various degrees of rust. That includes the one in the showroom, you can see it in the pic with the tile floor.

I only took three pictures, I wasn’t intending to do a 60 minutes expose. The other two pictures were taken at Orange Motors in Albany NY. At Orange Motors about 40% of the cars had no wheel caps. One had light rust and the other shows advanced penetration of the surface–not quite sure what we’re looking at, an axle nut and lug of some sort maybe–but this is rust that won’t wipe off, on a 2015 Mazda 6, and I don’t have anything comparable on my 2004 Corolla. Yes, I know that brakes get rusty–I see what’s going on every time I change my tires in the winter and spring–but I just don’t have anything like this.

I contacted Mazda North America with the pictures but they are extremely non-committal. I find it odd that a car company would be happy with dealers’ not installing wheel caps and showing rust on the show room floor. But that’s just me.

So the question: should this issue be a deterrent to purchasing a Mazda 6?

2. Concern #2. While I was talking to the Mazda North America “marketing experience” rep (the title was something like that) I indicated that I was having a hard time getting a dealer to commit to the idea of selling me the intermediate trim level Mazda 6 (the Touring) with 17″ alloy rims instead of 19″. The reason I am concerned is that currently tirerack.com is showing only two available tires for the Mazda 6. I would prefer series 55 to series 45 tires in order to have increased protection from the abundant pot holes in my area. But the OEM default for the Touring and Grand Touring is series 45. Not only are the series 45 tires less protective, they increase road noise and all seem to have low 200 to 300 tread wear ratings. But if you have series 55 tires you have about two dozen different choices, with a wide range of prices as well as considerable choice in speed and wear ratings.

One dealer indicated that he might be willing to switch the rims and tires from a Sport to a Touring to accommodate my request, but the Mazda North America rep said this was not recommended because of some design differences in the undercarriage between the Touring and Sport models. Is that true? I was not able to get detailed information from the rep who seemed to be more of a marketing person.

This is not just a question about the tires. If I want certain things that seem like a good idea, such as a back up camera, and I really need to stick to the “Sport” trim level to get 17″ rims, then I can’t get a manual transmission and also have the back up camera. So I’m thinking hard about the Accord LX manual, but the lack of a 60/40 split rear seat makes it tough for me, that’s a feature that I need from time to time, and when I need it I really need it.

Anyhow I’m wondering why Mazda is being so coy about 17″ rims on the Touring trim level, and it is also important for me to figure this out because I would like to get some steel rims with snow tires for the winter months. Here the choice of snow tires is also sharply limited in 19″ alloy rims, but 17″ steel is pretty easy to find snow tires for. And of course steel makes more sense for winter use.

Hope that’s not all too complicated.

Thanks,
Greg

Sajeev answers:

Let’s get to it.

Concern 1: Not a concern.  While it is bizarre that Mazdas are displayed sans center caps, that rust is on the hub. Not the wheel, behind the wheel.  Hubs (or brake rotors with integral hubs) are not rustproofed like other items, because these thick metal castings need 100+ rusty years for actual damage.  Just like surface rust on an engine block, it means nothing.

0821141329Not buying a Mazda 6 for this reason is silly.  And let’s hope the rust issues from 5+ years ago are history.

Concern 2: One man can’t make a difference.  No matter the groundswell seen in my inbox and the last few Piston Slaps revealing a sad new Truth About Cars: big wheels and low profile tires are kinda seriously dumb.

Forget about the base model wheels on a higher trimmed model.  And don’t rock the boat, nobody at the factory wants to say anything to make YOU happy that’ll get THEM in hot water.  Until smaller wheels (and bigger sidewalls) become a must-have feature, the bigger ones will continue to boost the profit margins of all manufacturers. (not just Mazda)

Your dealer (or the aftermarket) offers the right move: 17″ wheels with the correct minus sized tire (discussed here) will give you the same circumference and a similar (probably the same) footprint.  The “not recommended because of some design differences in the undercarriage between the Touring and Sport models” is hard to verify without seeing in person (or asking a Mazda PR rep) but I doubt it. Again, see my comment about non-committal statements to save one’s own bacon.

You can’t blame someone for toeing the company line to keep their job…can you? We’ve all been there!

The real question we need to answer is twofold:

  • When will manufacturers abandon tall bodies that need tall wagon wheels and pointless sidewalls?  
  • When will they offer more diverse options for buyers who refuse to be pigeonholed by restrictive trim packages? 

That requires a serious commitment from high level execs for cash (design new cars with old car proportioning) and…well honestly I don’t know who would approve the solution to the latter. Good luck with that.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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Mazda USA’s Market Share Fell Below 1.5% In October http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-usas-market-share-fell-1-5-october/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-usas-market-share-fell-1-5-october/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 12:54:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940393 In each of the last two years, America’s auto industry reported more new vehicle sales in October than in September. Sales increased 6% in October 2013, compared with the previous month. This year, October sales were 3% higher than September’s. For Mazda, however, October is typically a low-volume month; their second-lowest-volume month in 2011; their […]

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Skyactiv technologyIn each of the last two years, America’s auto industry reported more new vehicle sales in October than in September. Sales increased 6% in October 2013, compared with the previous month. This year, October sales were 3% higher than September’s.

For Mazda, however, October is typically a low-volume month; their second-lowest-volume month in 2011; their lowest-volume month in 2012 and 2013. October 2014 sales were particularly poor, as Mazda USA sales fell to the lowest point since October 2012, crumbling 22% from September 2014’s total and 5% year-over-year.

Clearly, Mazda doesn’t have as many new cars and crossovers to sell in October, a traditional changeover season for model years in the auto industry. Therefore, one month is not a sufficient barometer of Mazda’s U.S. circumstance.

October’s dreadfully poor total does nevertheless symbolize Mazda’s disappointing U.S. situation. Fewer than 19,000 Mazdas were sold last month as the brand garnered just 1.47% of the market, down from 1.63% a year ago. And while Mazda USA volume is up 8% year-to-date, these are actually incremental gains because of the brand’s low-volume status one year ago. Mazda may well sell more than 300,000 new vehicles in 2014 – they haven’t topped 295K since 2007 – but an 8% improvement for Mazda translates to just 19,523 extra sales through ten months.

Fortunately, new product will help, even for a low-capacity company like Mazda. The next MX-5 will attract positive attention to the brand. A new 2 will surely sell better than the outgoing 2. The 6 and CX-5 will receive updates soon, as well.

Mazda USa sales chart October 2014Yet at the same time, Mazda is giving up on the increasingly outdated and unpopular 5, which was at the very least an unconventional product in the United States. Moreover, the assumption that new product will most surely help is belied by the 3’s figures. 3 sales are down 2% this year in an overall new vehicle market that’s risen more than 5% and a passenger car market that’s up 1%. Year-over-year, 3 sales tumbled 6% in October even as passenger car sales grew by 3%.

It was America’s 23rd-best-selling car in October, trailing nine small car rivals from the Corolla, Civic, and Cruze to the Sentra, Versa, and Soul. The 3 is Mazda’s freshest product at the moment, but it’s generating fewer buyers than the previous-generation 3. Compared with 2012, when 3 sales topped 120,000 units for the first time since 2007, 3 sales this year are down 15%.

For many enthusiast auto writers, it’s easier to avoid picking on an underdog like Mazda, as the brand is more of a cause célèbre than a naturally sought-after whipping boy. October’s dismal results, traditional though they may be for Mazda, once again bring about serious questions: Can an independent automaker with mainstream pricing make progress in the long-term while averaging fewer than 26,000 sales in America?

Mazda’s was America’s 18th-best-selling auto brand in October. BMW’s sales were 63% stronger. Kia, which a decade ago sold at the same rate as Mazda, sold far more than twice as many vehicles as Mazda in October.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Badge Engineering Gone Right: The Ford Laser TX3 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/badge-engineering-gone-right-ford-laser-tx3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/badge-engineering-gone-right-ford-laser-tx3/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 18:43:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939817 Aside from the Ford Probe/Mazda MX-6, the collaboration between the Blue Oval and the pride of Hiroshima didn’t produce much in the way of performance cars. But a little know rebadge effort did give Ford a 4WD, rally-derived pocket rocket. As an attempt by Ford to break into the Japanese market, Ford leveraged their partnership […]

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Aside from the Ford Probe/Mazda MX-6, the collaboration between the Blue Oval and the pride of Hiroshima didn’t produce much in the way of performance cars. But a little know rebadge effort did give Ford a 4WD, rally-derived pocket rocket.

As an attempt by Ford to break into the Japanese market, Ford leveraged their partnership with Mazda to build cars like the Laser and Telstar, which used Mazda mechanicals in an effort to build right-sized cars that would appeal to Japanese consumers. The Laser was also exported to select markets like Australia and New Zealand.

A performance trim, dubbed the TX3, was offered, featuring the Mazda B6 and BP twincam motors used in the Miata and hot versions of the 323. But the TX3 Turbo and Turbo 4WD were the real stars, offering the same running gear and performace as the Mazda 323 GTX. While they offered the B6T and BPT engines of our 323 GTX (and the JDM-only second generation, which used a 1.8L turbo mill), they also suffered from fragile drivelines and uncaring owners.

The Ford Laser TX3 is but a footnote in the canon of Japanese performance cars. Nevertheless, its an under-appreciated bright spot in an ultimately doomed partnership. The similarity between the two cars echoes the near identical nature of the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 – but pre-dated even Subaru’s own 4WD turbocharged efforts by a good 5-10 years.

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Scion’s Next Small Car Won’t Be A Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/scions-next-small-car-wont-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/scions-next-small-car-wont-wagon/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 12:30:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939401 With the unveiling of the Scion iM just weeks away, a bit of news out of Thailand has revealed some information about the other new Scion that will be released alongside the iM. Set to debut at the end of November at the Thai Motor Show, Mazda’s sedan version of the Mazda2 may or may not […]

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With the unveiling of the Scion iM just weeks away, a bit of news out of Thailand has revealed some information about the other new Scion that will be released alongside the iM.

Set to debut at the end of November at the Thai Motor Show, Mazda’s sedan version of the Mazda2 may or may not be sold in North America – but it will appear as a Scion.

Information from Toyota sources tells us that the Mexican made vehicle will form the basis for another Scion product. Such a vehicle would benefit from Mazda’s lightweight Skyactiv engines, transmissions and chassis technology, but without the oddly-named moniker attached to it.

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Mazda Planning Product Onslaught For Los Angeles Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mazda-planning-product-onslaught-los-angeles-auto-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mazda-planning-product-onslaught-los-angeles-auto-show/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:51:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=937106 Mazda will debut an all-new crossover, and facelifted versions of two of its most popular models at next month’s Los Angeles Auto Show. The CX-3 crossover, shown above, will be unveiled, alongside revised versions of the larger CX-5 crossover and the Mazda6 sedan. The CX-3 will be based on the Mazda2’s underpinnings, and compete with […]

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Mazda will debut an all-new crossover, and facelifted versions of two of its most popular models at next month’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

The CX-3 crossover, shown above, will be unveiled, alongside revised versions of the larger CX-5 crossover and the Mazda6 sedan. The CX-3 will be based on the Mazda2’s underpinnings, and compete with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and other small crossovers.

The CX-3 is expected to get a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, but will likely only be offered with all-wheel drive. The CX-5 and Mazda6 will get styling updates both inside and out, as well as a new infotainment system currently used on the Mazda3.

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Subaru Legacy and Mazda 6: Low Volume Midsize Cars Making A Small Difference http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/subaru-legacy-mazda-6-low-volume-midsize-cars-making-small-difference/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/subaru-legacy-mazda-6-low-volume-midsize-cars-making-small-difference/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:36:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935482 America’s 35th president, John F. Kennedy, said, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” Automobile manufacturing is not public policy. (Actually it is, basically all the time.) But virtually every automaker tries to make a difference in the midsize car sector, yet are the differences each manufacturer makes worthy of a mention […]

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2015 Subaru LEgacyAmerica’s 35th president, John F. Kennedy, said, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

Automobile manufacturing is not public policy. (Actually it is, basically all the time.) But virtually every automaker tries to make a difference in the midsize car sector, yet are the differences each manufacturer makes worthy of a mention here?

2014, like most years, is a time of great change for the segment. We’ve been steadily approaching a premature refresh of the Camry, America’s best-selling car. Chrysler Group replaced its Sebring-based 200 and Dodge Avenger with an Italian-based (can we call it that?) 2015 200. Hyundai’s avant-garde sixth-generation Sonata was replaced by a more conservative 2015 model.

Also recently launched was the sixth-generation Subaru Legacy. Subaru USA reported their best-ever Legacy sales month in September, when 6198 were sold.

Crossing the 6K threshold is no mean feat for a car which averaged fewer than 3800 monthly sales in 2012 and 2013.

With real volume coming from the company’s midsize car (plus improvements from the Outback, XV Crosstrek, and Forester) Subaru yet again reported record brand-wide sales: September 2014 was Subaru’s best-ever September. Sales have increased in 34 consecutive months.

Meanwhile, Mazda reported the 6’s sixth consecutive year-over-year monthly improvement as September sales shot up to 4263 units. 6 sales have now topped 4000 units in five consecutive months after crested the 4K mark only seven times in the previous 28 months.

2014 Mazda 6Measured by percentage gains, the 6 was America’s second-fastest-growing midsize nameplate in September, surging 35% as Legacy sales jumped 118%.

Perhaps neither car made a huge difference in the overall scheme of things – they accounted for just 0.8% of the new vehicles sold in the United States last month – but their impact on the midsize sector was notable. In September 2013, they generated just 3.5% of America’s midsize car volume; that figure rose to 5.9% in September 2014. With 10,461 sales between the pair, they combined to produce market share similar to the Chrysler 200 (10,995 September sales) and Kia Optima (10,908 September sales).

Nevertheless, the 31% year-over-year improvement from the Honda Accord, America’s best-selling car in both August and September, translated to 7780 extra sales compared with September 2013. In other words, Honda added more sales to an already high September 2013 Accord total than Subaru or Mazda’s midsize total. The Accord’s market share, on its own, increased by 3.7 percentage points to 18.5%.

America’s four best-selling midsize cars so far this year (Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion) combine to sell 60% more often than the next eight-best-selling midsize cars (Sonata, Malibu, Optima, 200, Passat, Avenger, 6, Legacy).

This doesn’t translate to bad news for the two smaller Japanese automakers, not at all. Subaru will likely sell more than 50,000 Legacy sedans this year, a total not achieved by the Legacy nameplate since its sales figures were Outback-inclusive. Mazda has already sold more 6s through the first nine months of 2014 than in all of 2009, 2010, 2011, or 2012 and will likely produce the greatest year-end 6 volume since 2007, when 57,575 6s were sold.

Clearly, lower volume intermediate cars are having an impact as they utilize their unique strengths to attract attention in a stagnating segment. And yet even in September, a most difference-making of months, the Legacy and 6’s achievements pale in comparison to the Accord’s surge, like filibustering senators who aren’t blessed with veto pens in their desk drawers.

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NHTSA Issues Urgent Recall For Takata-Equipped Vehicles In Humid Climes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nhtsa-issues-urgent-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles-humid-climes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nhtsa-issues-urgent-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles-humid-climes/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934178 If you happen to own certain BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan vehicles, and reside in a humid climate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging you to take it in for repairs linked to the Takata airbags installed. Though the agency didn’t explain exactly the need for urgency, the airbags made […]

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Takata Airbag Cutaway

If you happen to own certain BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan vehicles, and reside in a humid climate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging you to take it in for repairs linked to the Takata airbags installed.

Though the agency didn’t explain exactly the need for urgency, the airbags made by Takata have been linked to humidity-related failures, where upon detonation, metal shrapnel would be sprayed into the cabin, injuring or killing all within.

Owners of the following affected vehicles may need to bring their vehicles in for repairs if they call Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands or Hawaii home:

Toyota: 778,177 total number of vehicles potentially affected
2002 – 2004 Lexus SC
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia
2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra
2003 – 2004 Pontiac Vibe

Honda: 2,803,214 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord (4 cyl)
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord (6 cyl)
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 -2007 Honda Pilot
2006 Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 -2003 Acura TL/CL

Nissan: 437,712 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 Infiniti FX

Mazda: 18,050 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2004 Mazda6
2004 Mazda RX-8

BMW: 573,935 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

General Motors: 133,221 total number potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre
2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous
2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana

Recall letters are being sent out to affected owners, who can also look up their VIN through SaferCar.gov to determine if their vehicle is under recall.

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QOTD: Another Member Of The Brown Wagon Club? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/qotd-another-member-brown-wagon-club/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/qotd-another-member-brown-wagon-club/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:32:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=933906 While helping my grandmother hunt for a new car, I tried to steer her towards a Mazda3 Sport. She didn’t take to the “game changer” (which is the tagline for the car’s marketing campaign, not an attempt to cash in on my catch phrase), but I did notice a similar example on the lot. This […]

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While helping my grandmother hunt for a new car, I tried to steer her towards a Mazda3 Sport. She didn’t take to the “game changer” (which is the tagline for the car’s marketing campaign, not an attempt to cash in on my catch phrase), but I did notice a similar example on the lot.

This color, called “Titanium Flash”, looks more like brown to me. As far as I’m concerned, the line between station wagon, hatchback and CUV has been sufficiently blurred that this can qualify as a member of the mythical brown wagon species – and you can get it in a manual as well. I’ll defer to the B&B on this one, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s time to count every possible example to help shore up ranks.

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Revised Mazda2 Takes Home Japan COTY Award http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/revised-mazda2-takes-home-japan-coty-award/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/revised-mazda2-takes-home-japan-coty-award/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931434 The newly revised Mazda2 — Demio in its home market of Japan — won’t be in United States showrooms until sometime during the 2016 model year, but when it does arrive, it will be bringing along its first award: the 2014-2015 Car of the Year Japan, as presented by the Japan Car of the Year […]

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The newly revised Mazda2 — Demio in its home market of Japan — won’t be in United States showrooms until sometime during the 2016 model year, but when it does arrive, it will be bringing along its first award: the 2014-2015 Car of the Year Japan, as presented by the Japan Car of the Year Committee.

The fourth vehicle to adopt the automaker’s Kodo design language — after the CX-5, Mazda6 and Mazda3 — the Mazda2 took home the award just two years after the CX-5 did the same. The win is Mazda’s fifth overall.

All passenger vehicles announced or in production in Japan between November 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, with over 500 units produced/planned for the home market, were eligible for this year’s award.

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EPA: Mazda Holds Highest MPG, Lowest CO2 Averages For 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/epa-mazda-holds-highest-mpg-lowest-co2-averages-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/epa-mazda-holds-highest-mpg-lowest-co2-averages-2013/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=928618 Mazda’s green vibes must just feel right with the Environmental Protection Agency, as the agency has proclaimed the automaker has the highest fuel economy and lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any automaker in 2013. Edmunds reports Mazda’s portfolio netted an average of 28.1 mpg and 316 grams/mile of CO2, followed by Honda (27.4/324), Subaru (26.7/332) […]

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Mazda’s green vibes must just feel right with the Environmental Protection Agency, as the agency has proclaimed the automaker has the highest fuel economy and lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any automaker in 2013.

Edmunds reports Mazda’s portfolio netted an average of 28.1 mpg and 316 grams/mile of CO2, followed by Honda (27.4/324), Subaru (26.7/332) and Nissan (26.2/339). Nissan also had the greatest improvement in both rankings, jumping up 2.2 mpg and cutting down 30 g/mi of CO2 compared to 2012. All four are set to continue their green ways, as well, with Mazda leading the way again for 2014 at 28.8 mpg/309 g/mi CO2.

At the bottom of the list, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles delivered an average of 20.9 mpg/425 g/mi CO2. Volkswagen AG bested the other German manufacturers with 353 g/mi CO2 and 25.7 mpg, while Hyundai and Kia continue to be footnotes due to an ongoing investigation regarding fuel economy numbers.

As stated earlier, the overall average mpg for 2013 came out to 24.1 mpg, while overall CO2 emissions averaged 369 g/mi. The EPA adds that the number of vehicles topping out at 40 mpg and above jumped from three to 26, and that the top three most fuel-efficient models for 2013 are the Chevrolet Spark (119 combined MPGe), Honda Fit EV (118) and Fiat 500e (116).

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Mazda GLC Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1985-mazda-glc-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1985-mazda-glc-hatchback/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927193 When the Mazda Familia first came to North America, it had rear-wheel-drive, its chassis was very similar to that of an RX-7, and it was called the GLC, for “great little car.” By 1981, the GLC had switched to front-wheel-drive, and later in the decade it became known as the 323. In this series, we’ve […]

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07 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen the Mazda Familia first came to North America, it had rear-wheel-drive, its chassis was very similar to that of an RX-7, and it was called the GLC, for “great little car.” By 1981, the GLC had switched to front-wheel-drive, and later in the decade it became known as the 323. In this series, we’ve seen this ’80 hatch, this ultra-rare ’81 sedan, this ’83 sedan, this ’84 hatchback, and now today’s interestingly decorated ’84. We’ve also seen what’s probably the most original GLC in the country, courtesy of Mazda HQ in California.
13 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe hood is painted with a big star and there are “turbo turtles” on the sides. If this is a popular-culture reference, it’s one I’ve missed.
05 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1.5 liter E5 engine was standard equipment in the ’85 GLC.
01 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAll in all, a fairly generic mid-80s econo-hatch.

The sedan version was pitched as a high-performance economy car.

In Japan, M. Takanaka did the music for Familia ads.

01 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1985 Mazda GLC Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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September 2014 Sales: CX-5 Tops Mazda USA Sales Charts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-sales-cx-5-tops-mazda-usa-sales-charts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-sales-cx-5-tops-mazda-usa-sales-charts/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 12:21:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927474 In September 2014, for the third time ever and the third time this year, the Mazda CX-5 outsold the Mazda 3 in the United States. The difference was minimal: just 238 units in September compared with a CX-5-favouring 2067 units in February and 1319 in March. Year-to-date, the 3 leads the CX-5 by just 2069 […]

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2014 Mazda CX-5 greyIn September 2014, for the third time ever and the third time this year, the Mazda CX-5 outsold the Mazda 3 in the United States.

The difference was minimal: just 238 units in September compared with a CX-5-favouring 2067 units in February and 1319 in March. Year-to-date, the 3 leads the CX-5 by just 2069 units.

Together, they account for 65.8% of Mazda USA’s volume over the course of the last nine months, up slightly from 64.5% at this point a year ago.

While the U.S. sales gap between the two cars is narrow, the CX-5 and 3 are travelling in opposite directions on the same highway. After hitting record highs in 2012, sales of the 3 declined 15% in 2013. Through the first nine months of 2014, year-over-year volume 3 sales are down 2% in 2014. Q3 sales slid 3%.

It’s not as though America’s auto industry is regaining strength through compact cars – sales in the category are only slightly better than level this year and rose less than 1% in September – but the 3 is underperforming compared with key rivals. As accepted as the 3 is by the automotive press, its true rivals on volume terms aren’t big-name players like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Chevrolet Cruze but rather lower-tier cars like the Volkswagen Jetta (down 7% to 115,055 this year), Subaru Impreza (up 7% to 64,329), and Dodge Dart (down 8% to 60,763). 3 sales are down 2% to 80,259 over the last nine months.

The CX-5, on the other hand, is growing at an above-average pace in the small crossover battle led by the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Toyota RAV4. Combined sales of that trio are up 9% this year while CX-5 sales are up 29%. Keep in mind, the surging RAV4 (up 26% in 2014) sells more than twice as often as the CX-5; the stagnant Escape sells nearly three times more often, and the CR-V sells more than three times as often.

But the CX-5 is central to Mazda’s expansion. The brand is a truly low-volume player in the United States. We’ve examined its market share at TTAC in the past, which is akin to the share of the market owned by BMW. But Mazda USA volume is up 9% in 2014, a faster rate of growth than that which has been achieved by the overall industry.

2014 Mazda 3It’s not down to the 3. The unique-among-minivans 5 is surely not responsible for growing the brand. 2 sales are up 40% this year, a gain of 3628 units. 6 sales are up 29%, equal to a 9328-unit improvement. (Mazda says the 6 set a record for September sales last month, but they didn’t mean an all-time record. 6 sales in September 2005 were 1% higher; 6 sales in September 2004 were 26% higher. The 6 currently owns slightly more than 2% of America’s midsize market.) The CX-9 has aged, and sales are down 31% this year. As we approach its replacement, MX-5 sales are down 20%, year-over-year, after falling 66% between 2006 and 2013.

If the 3 can’t perk up, the responsibility pressed down on the CX-5’s shoulders will only gain weight. CX-5 volume has grown by 17,522 units to 78,190 in 2014. Only once in 20 monthly tries have CX-5 sales decreased on a year-over-year basis, and that drop was valued at just 5% in the market’s lowest-volume month this year, January.

Exclude the small crossover from Mazda’s lineup and 2014 YTD sales are up just 1.8%, rather than 9.3%. Remove the CX-5 from the equation in September, when it topped the Mazda sales charts, and sales would have decreased 1.9% rather than increasing 6.7%.

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Mazda Announces MX-5 Displacement, Drags Out Details Even Longer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mazda-announces-mx-5-displacement-drags-details-even-longer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mazda-announces-mx-5-displacement-drags-details-even-longer/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 15:11:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=923729 Not content with merely showing off the design of the next Mazda MX-5, Mazda has announced that European versions of the MX-5 will get a 1.5L Skyactiv engine, while North American versions will get a 2.0L motor. In North American trim, the 2.0L makes 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque, but Mazda claims that “all […]

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Not content with merely showing off the design of the next Mazda MX-5, Mazda has announced that European versions of the MX-5 will get a 1.5L Skyactiv engine, while North American versions will get a 2.0L motor.

In North American trim, the 2.0L makes 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque, but Mazda claims that “all available drivetrains have been specifically tuned for the all-new MX-5.” Here’s hoping that they’ll match the current car’s 167 horsepower (it makes 140 lb-ft). Paired with the rumored 2200 lb curb weight, it should be plenty quick.

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