Digging For Savings, Mazda Cuts Its Roots

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
digging for savings mazda cuts its roots

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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  • Rental Man Rental Man on Mar 26, 2012

    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.

  • Cutchemist42 Cutchemist42 on Mar 26, 2012

    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?

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Mar 27, 2012

      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.

  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)