Mazda Doesn't Want to Run Low on Crossovers, Plans Accordingly

mazda doesnt want to run low on crossovers plans accordingly

Like most automakers, utility vehicles make up the bulk of Mazda’s sales, and the ratio is only swinging further in light trucks’ favor. While the new 3 hatch and sedan may be the freshest products on the automaker’s plate, freshly minted CEO Akira Marumoto knows what butters Mazda’s bread.

To keep the adorably midsized automaker in good standing with customers and accountants, the company is taking great pains to ensure the flow of crossovers never stems. Anywhere Mazda builds cars, Marumoto also wants crossover capacity.

Speaking to Automotive News, the CEO, who took the helm in June, said the automaker will revamp its production base, allowing it to build crossovers at any factory, if needed. The effort starts next year at Mazda’s Salamanca, Mexico plant, home to the current- and next-generation 3. One retooled, Mazda can call up crossovers from the car-only plant.

“What we are discussing internally is the production facility or equipment needed to change the mix in an extreme way, from 0 percent to 100 percent in a production line,” Marumoto said, adding that the actual mix would likely be around 40 percent.

Should sedan and hatch sales take a dive, the automaker’s assembly lines wouldn’t throttle back — they’d just add in a more popular product. The same strategy will be applied to plants in Japan and China.

“We’ll be ready to produce passenger cars and crossovers at every plant,” said Marumoto. “Flexibility is very important.” The CEO added that an issue exists with the company’s body shops, as operations are dedicated along model lines. Within five or six years, Marumoto sees that bottleneck disappearing.

Over the first 11 months of 2018, crossover sales rose 18.1 percent at Mazda, echoing a trend seen throughout the industry. Meanwhile, car sales fell 13.8 percent. Year to date, crossovers accounted for 64.9 percent of Mazda’s U.S. sales volume, compared to the 57.4 percent seen at the end of November 2017.

[Image: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Dec 17, 2018

    I'm happy to hear that Mazda are planning for the future and figuring out how to stay in business without completely abandoning the sedan segments. If it means that they can rejigger and still have sedans in the wings I'm all for it as I'm not ready to go full-on into crossovers (had an Escape for awhile, no significant demerits, but it didn't quite do what I wanted). I currently drive a Mazda6 6MT and am extremely happy with it, especially since I got the upgrade to Android Auto. It's a small thing, but really does make a difference.

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Dec 17, 2018

    Glad to hear you like your car - I'm considering one this coming spring, after two test drives of turbos at different dealers. Seems pretty nice to me after trying out so many cars I've officially lost count. Mazda is the master of making specialized multi-tasking production machinery. I remember reading an SAE article about a decade ago about their three different engine block machining center. They could machine their diesel and gas fours, and the Ford V6 block they bought in for the old CX-9 on one huge machine automatically. Now that's pretty ingenious, and they did it themselves - not hiring a machine tool company.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.