By on April 10, 2012

The scuttlebutt on Mazda is that Japan’s favorite independent automaker is in the toilet, having to shed jobs in America and assets in Japan just to stay afloat. While Mazda may be strapped for cash, their less-than-liquid holdings, like a baseball team and $5 billion worth of land, don’t look so bad.

Mazda’s holdings include a 34 percent stake in the Hiroshima Carp baseball team, a struggling but well-loved team, hospitals and other social facilities worth $253 million and various land holdings worth $5 billion. Mazda was in good financial shape before the financial crisis, but in recent years, the company has weathered the dissolution of its relationship with Ford, and a rising yen that has had devastating consequences for a company that produces most of its vehicles in Japan.

While Mazda has announced plans to build a factory in Mexico and is well on its way with their SkyACTIV technology aimed at reducing fuel consumption, the company will have to enact some short term measures to help ease their financial burden – like selling a bunch of valuable assets that are held for no other reason than because of a tie with Mazda’s hometown.

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35 Comments on “Mazda Looking To Sell Baseball Team, Other Assets As Finances Worsen...”


  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Sounds long overdue. While they are at it- I wonder how much they are paying to have the Laguna Seca Race Track naming rights.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    If they were able to sell these assets, it would be wise for them to use about 3 billion of it to create their next generation platforms for all of their cars. Although the CX5 is a new platform. Everything else is about 6 to 8 years old? No redesigns, all new is what they need. As much as I dont care for Toyota, they actually had to say that the Camry was a redesign and not all new. No one would have noticed that didnt have an engineering degree. That speaks volumes about how much they actually changed (strengthened) the platform.
    The CX5 is on the right track. Once they apply SkyyActiv too all of its fleet they may have a fighting chance. I think I read somewhere that the MX5 is suppose to go back to its roots.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      They’re way ahead of you. The Mazda6 with a brand new platform goes on sale next spring. Also, a brand new Miata, Mazda3, and CX-9 are slated no later than the 2014 model year.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This has got to hurt. Much of Mazda’s soul comes from it’s history as a Hiroshiman local.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Mazda is one of those car makers that really helps out its enthusiasts through grassroots motorsports programs supporting varying series from Formula Mazda to various Miata racing programs.

    It is saddening to see them struggle so much as their cars are actually pretty good / above average and great at times. Though I applaud Mazda for keeping the rotary engine dream alive – it just does not sell in volume and must be a major drain on R&D / engineering hours from more standard ICE formats. Time to put it out to pasture and focus those engineers into more profitable enterprises.

    With Honda struggling badly as well it might make sense for them to join up and merge. Aside from the bread / butter (suv / sedans) they do not have much direct competition with the MX5, Mazda5, MS3, and Mazda3 hatchback (Honda’s hatchback offerings for the past 10 years have been lacking in every manner – for lack for execution and understand not that the public won’t buy them).

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      I don’t see a lot of synergy in a Mazda/Honda merger. Aside from the MX5, I don’t think Mazda brings much to the table taht Honda doesn’t already have.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      > With Honda struggling badly

      Honda is only suffering reputationally on the internet, if you discount the tsunami as a one-time thing, but even then, they had an income shortful, but did not go negative. Fundamentals (motorcycles, diversified manufacturing facilities), Honda is still fairly good for the long term. Honda, like BMW, can still stay independent.

      Mazda needs a North American distribution partner… or a partner of some kind. VW seems like the best long term choice to me. VW needs more competitive non-turbo Otto-cycle engines for NA after all.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        VW could also use a dose of that Japanese reliability.

        My VW was fun to drive, and Mazdas are supposed to be fun to drive. VW makes diesels. A CX-5 Skyactive-D is one of the few CUVs I’d drive voluntarily.

        I see a lot of overlap in who they sell to, and if VW would use Mazda designs to make up for the reliability shortfalls that I experienced with my Jetta, I’d be a happy man.

        That is, assuming that the C-Max can’t tow my 4’x8′ utility trailer, anyway. A plugin hybrid family car that can make 1000lb hardware store runs would probably even best a TDI with Japanese reliability, as a replacement for my Escape.

  • avatar

    If Mazda folded their automotive operations, it wouldn’t be the first time a car company folded but the company went on. E.L. Cord shut down Auburn, Duesenberg and Cord when they became insolvent, but his other enterprises, like Lycoming engines, continued. The Franklin engine survived two companies, Franklin and Tucker. The Checker Corp. continued making car parts and managing assets until the financial meltdown in 2008. Graham-Paige stopped making cars but ended up owning Madison Square Garden.

    I can see Mazda Land Development Co. surviving Mazda Motors.

    • 0 avatar
      solracer

      The Studebaker name survived for many years and eventually ended up being folded into Federal-Mogul. Many of Studebaker’s former holdings are still in business like Onan, Paxton and STP. Hupp, the maker of the Huppmobile car lasted until 1991.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I wonder if they’d make a good match for BMW. It would give BMW a value brand and the two companies already have the same design philosophy.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    innovate, or die.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      Agreed.

    • 0 avatar
      M.S. Smith

      This is why Toyota does so well.

      Because of the innovation.

      • 0 avatar
        jandrews

        bwahahaha.

        Well stated.

        It pains me to see Mazda in such bad shape. I feel as though their emphasis on driving enjoyment has hampered their marketability. People look at Japanese marques for two things: Mileage and Reliability. Mazda was always on par with the first, and generally lagging in the second compared to H-square and Oval-T.

        Say what you want about Toyota and Honda, they’ve never screwed those two aspects up. While Nissan was comparable to Mazda, they managed to compete on price before better management from Renault spurred their recent uptick.

        Most Jap brand intenders looked at Mazda and saw a less reliable vehicle for the same money. Since driving enjoyment was immaterial from the get-go, Mazda has been the eternal non-starter.

        It’s a shame from an enthusiast standpoint. It’s just business from a shareholder standpoint.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I was thinking Studebaker.
    They made good cars. Within ten years, they went from boom to bust not because they didn’t make good cars, but because they couldn’t make profitable cars.

    Finally the Board decided to stop the bleeding. Cars were simply not where the money was to be made. Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Mazda all have easier ways of making profits than through cars.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      Bringing the next Mazda 6 production to high-cost Japan when everyone else tries to bail out as quickly as possible did not bode well in terms of profitability as well.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I know the Mazda 3 is due for an update, but is it a full update or a refresh? The 3 is basically similar to the car that they debuted in 2004.

    I know by then, the full Skyactive will be implemented with that model and I hope if a full update, a new chassis will be in order.

    Otherwise, I like what they are trying to do, offer cars with more dynamics and such for those of us who enjoy driving and being more involved with our cars while driving them if we choose, rather than be forced to passively steer them, so to speak like in many family cars.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The next Mazda3 will be a model year 2014. It will be a full redesign, being related to the CX-5 more than the current Mazda3.

      Basically think of the Takeri & Minagi having a baby with the height proportions of the Takeri & length proportions of the Minagi.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Lucky they have the assets – it will give them another chance at viability. Let’s hope they will use that cash wisely to move manufacturing out of Japan to insulate themselves from the high Yen. They will also need to port the SKYACTIV technology to more than just small engines – they will also need at least a 2.5L to be competitive when the new 6 is released.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    This is essentially what Goshn did at Nissan to save it, he sold the periphial accretions like radio stations and captive suppliers, and used the cash to invest in new tech and platforms.

    He didn’t do anything that his Japanese predecessors couldn’t have done, the difference being that he didn’t have all that cultural baggage preventing him from doing that.

    I wonder if Mazda management is really capable of following Goshn’s play book in order to save itself.

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    Time to start the Mazda DeathWatch?

  • avatar
    M.S. Smith

    Mazda knows how to build cars, now they just need to figure out how to sell them.

    There lack of success in the US doesn’t seem like a surprise. Small dealer network, not much advertising, and a poor selection of large vehicles – seems like a great way to not sell any units.

    I would not be surprised, for example, if the recent six million dollar man/CX-5 commercial is basically the only major ad campaign we see for the car. Like, ever.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Mazda shouldn’t have sunk so much money into rotary engine development over the decades; they should have given up about 15 years ago when everybody (but them) knew the rotary had no future.

    Maybe Mazda will do a “Ford” and mortgage everything to raise some cash.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Surprising (to me at least) that no one has hooked up with them since Ford left. They make some nice chassis. Or maybe there is a reason Ford left them that no one is talking about.

  • avatar
    jruhi4

    There are rumors that Fiat’s Sergio Marchionne has his eye on Mazda as the Asian leg to complement European Fiat and North American Chrysler.

  • avatar
    rx8

    THE ISSUE is not about Mazda “learning how to” sell cars, they sell plenty. The FACT is because most of their cars come out of Japan they are not making ANY money, because of the strong YEN..Nothing else…As for all the other BS by posters..Mazda will come out of this once they have more leverage (profit) out of their new Mexico plant or the YEN takes a nose dive.
    BTW: Mazda ARE in the process of total model renewal.

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