TTAC News Round-Up: Mazda's Crossover Mania, Hyundai Lands a Lambo Man, Toyota is Just The Tops

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Newly promoted, high-priced executives at Mazda seem to think there’s something to this crossover fad.

That, Hyundai’s landed a Benjamin Button to lead Genesis and I wish I would have known how cheap I could have purchased an F1 team … after the break.

New Mazda boss keying on crossover sales

New Mazda North America chief Masahiro Moro will push the company to sell more crossovers next year when he takes the reins, according to Automotive News.

Moro will take over for outgoing, longtime CEO Jim O’Sullivan on Jan. 1, and Moro said that he’d like the automaker’s business to be based more on its high-margin crossovers and less on its slim-profit sedans, such as the Mazda3.

“In the past, we have had a business model with too much reliance on Mazda3 series,” Moro told Automotive News. “With that business model, it is very difficult to make good money.”

To bolster that bid to sell more big vehicles, Mazda introduced its CX-3 in 2015 and will bring a new CX-9 in 2016.

More “boom-boom,” less “zoom zoom,” I suppose?

Former Lamborghini exec leading Hyundai’s Genesis division

Manfred Fitzgerald, who led Lamborghini’s brand and design up until 2011, will take over at Hyundai’s new Genesis brand, the automaker announced Monday.

Fitzgerald will be based in Seoul, South Korea, and will be responsible for the fledgling brand’s strategy and marketing, according to the statement.

Apparently Fitzgerald is 52 years old, which you’d never know by the above photo.

Toyota will likely retain crown for world’s largest automaker

Toyota outsold Volkswagen for the fifth-straight month in November, which means that the Japanese automaker will likely retain its crown for 2015 as the world’s biggest automaker.

(Volkswagen, you may have heard, has had a little difficulty selling cars since the summer.)

Reuters reported that Toyota said group sales have slid 1 percent year-to-date over last year, but that the automaker shipped 9.21 million cars in November.

Renault bought Lotus F1 for less than you think

How does $1.50 sound? That’s how much Renault paid for the flagging Lotus F1 team, according to Motorsport.

The complicated stock transaction boiled down to just a single, British Pound, according to the report. Grigny will be the immediate owner of the team, according to Motorsport, and is a subsidiary of Renault. Grigny was involved in Renault’s last F1 bid, when the former was called Benetton.

All Pastor Maldonado needs to know is whose name to put on the check.

Recalls coming at year-end, but 2015 may come second

A flurry of year-end recalls for vehicles are bringing to a close a busy year for safety regulators, but that may not top last year’s record 64 million recalled vehicles, The Detroit Bureau reported.

The year-end rush may have something to do with the fact that Congress recently passed stiffer penalties for automakers as part of its federal highways bill.

Federal regulators have handed out record penalties already to automakers this year including $105 million to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and $900 million to General Motors for its faulty ignition switches.

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

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6 of 71 comments
  • TrailerTrash TrailerTrash on Dec 28, 2015

    Don't you dare stop the focus of the Mazda3. It is simply a beauty and what really brought the Mazda brand back to where it is today.\ I don't mind thinking about margin...but can we try to do more than two things here? I see a car company suddenly moving from the control of the engineers and car guys to the offices of the bean counters and return of shareholder investments. That's all good, but remember what brought us here. Go back and watch the old movie Executive Suite again and try to get the picture.

  • Tekdemon Tekdemon on Dec 31, 2015

    It's rather ridiculous how much money Mazda wants for a CX-3 but the market weirdly places a premium on things that are crossovers, even if they appear to be the same damned size as a car.

  • 28-Cars-Later WSJ blurb in Think or Swim:Workers at Volkswagen's Tennessee factory voted to join the United Auto Workers, marking a historic win for the 89- year-old union that is seeking to expand where it has struggled before, with foreign-owned factories in the South.The vote is a breakthrough for the UAW, whose membership has shrunk by about three-quarters since the 1970s, to less than 400,000 workers last year.UAW leaders have hitched their growth ambitions to organizing nonunion auto factories, many of which are in southern states where the Detroit-based labor group has failed several times and antiunion sentiment abounds."People are ready for change," said Kelcey Smith, 48, who has worked in the VW plant's paint shop for about a year, after leaving his job at an warehouse in town. "We look forward to making history and bringing change throughout the entire South."   ...Start the clock on a Chattanooga shutdown.
  • 1995 SC Didn't Chrysler actually offer something with a rearward facing seat and a desk with a typewriter back in the 60s?
  • The Oracle Happy Trails Tadge
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Union fees and corruption. What can go wrong?
  • Lou_BC How about one of those 2 foot wide horizontal speedometers out of the late 60's Ford Galaxie?