Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hired me about a year ago, which coincided with the first anniversary of a five-year loan on my 2009 Mazda5 Sport. However, I’d really like to get into a company car as a show of support, and because I’m tired of paying five-year loans on cheap used cars.
The miniature Mazda minivan — aka the Mazda5 — won’t be brought to the United States after this year, according to the automaker (via Autoblog). The small, boxy family hauler dwindled out in the U.S. (but was never less functional) because we’ll buy anything that looks like a crossover.
In unrelated news: Mazda will be showing off its new crossover concept in Frankfurt this year, dubbed the Koeru, according to Carscoops.
Thank goodness, the world could use another crossover.
My last Rental Review re-ignited one of TTAC’s “third rail” debates, that of compact pickups versus their full-size brethren. For the uninitiated, this topic is only slightly less contentious than discussing the merits of Roe v. Wade on a 1970’s college campus. User krhodes1 commented that when it comes to small trucks versus an equivalently priced full-sizer “Sometimes paying more for less is worth it.” I’m not entirely sure I agree with this sentiment across the board, but I know someone who does when it comes to minivans: my mother.
In the United States, unlike elsewhere in the world, there aren’t many choices for those who need seating for more than five people but who don’t want to give up the maneuverability of a compact car. Kia gave the segment a go, but withdrew the Rondo from the U.S. market a couple of years ago. Chevrolet has opted to not even test the waters with the Orlando. So Mazda currently has the segment to itself. But the Ford C-Max arrives in less than a year. Does the revised 2012 Mazda5 have what it takes to fend off the challenger?
Just yesterday, I noted in my write-up on Mazda’s June sales performance that
with a Nagare-saddled Mazda5 replacement waiting in the wings, Mazda isn’t even well positioned to defend the segment it helped define in the US market, just as GM finally starts taking it seriously
Well, today Mazda announced to Automotive News [sub] that it would be targeting 30k annual sales of the Mazda5’s “Nagare-saddled” replacement. Last year’s 18,488 units was the second-best sales year on record for the 5, as sales fell from 2008’s all-time high of 22,021. In short, Mazda’s compact CUV has always been at least 8k units away from its new Mazda5 sales goal. On the other hand, Mazda never properly marketed the 5, and both GM and Ford are moving into the segment with the GMC Granite and Ford C-Max. Will Detroit’s move into this otherwise-ignored segment (currently contested by only the 5 and the Kia Rondo) bring buyers in, or force already-marginalized players like Mazda out? The fate of the 5 seems to hang on the answer to that one question.
Nagare is done. After the 5, it’s highly unlikely that there will be another nagare car. Mazda has moved on
Mazda’s Peter Birtwhistle gives Mazda fans the brand’s best news in a long time [via AutoExpress]: the crazy design language inspired by the Nagare show car of 2006, will die with its first victim, the 2011 Mazda5. Mazda’s new direction?
[Becoming] more like a Japanese Alfa Romeo, producing cars which are great to drive, but crucially that also have the right premium feel, particularly inside.
Great idea. It would have been even better, say, five years ago. Better late than never…
The Mazda5 has long been an under-considered little MPV, competing in a niche that only the aging Kia Rondo dare set foot in. Mazda’s solution to weak sales: overwrought, tacked-on styling flair. But let’s face it: until a major brand brings competition into the compact MPV segment (which will likely first occur when Ford brings its C-Max stateside), the Mazda5 will continue to wander the deserts of weak consideration.
We should have seen this coming when Mazda first called its Furai and Nagare concepts “design studies” instead of “the unfortunate results of a savage brown-acid-and-Lovecraft bender at Mazda’s design studios.” New direct-injection, stop-start engines are approved for the European version of the new Mazda5, but as usual there are no guarantees they’ll make it to the US market version. More details when Mazda5 comes alive at the Geneva auto show.