Archive for January, 2014
Mazda3 sales in the US were down about 15 percent last year to a total of 104,713 units. According to a report from Automotive News, though, the slowdown in sales has been due more to production constraints than demand.
Good news for Mazda dealers, then, that a new plant in Salamanca, Mexico has just come online. Tom Carey, chairman of Mazda’s national dealer council, told AN, “We’re going to be in good shape because of that Mexico inventory.” If estimates prove accurate, sales of the Mazda3 will increase by about 20 percent when the new plant begins production this month.
If those lofty projections come to pass, Mazda will reportedly be on track to exceed 300,000 total sales in the US in 2014, which would represent the brand’s highest figures since its 375,000-unit peak in 1994. The brand hopes to sell more than 400,000 vehicles in the US by 2016, and with well-received products like the latest 3 and Mazda6 sedan, such expectations seem quite possible.
Dealers think Mazda’s new Mexico plant will increase Mazda3 sales by 20% originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Jan 2014 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and its challenging small-overlap crash test have passed judgment. In testing of nearly a dozen minicars, only one vehicle scored an acceptable rating on the ultra-tough test, which was instituted in August 2012.
The Chevrolet Spark was the only car out of 11 to net an “Acceptable” rating in the small-overlap test and the only one to be named a 2014 Top Safety Pick. The IIHS has four rating levels – Poor, Marginal, Acceptable and Good.
The Mazda2, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris and 2014 Ford Fiesta all netted “Marginal” scores on the small-overlap test, while the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Versa, Toyota Prius C, Hyundai Accent, Fiat 500 and Honda Fit all netted “Poor” ratings. We’ve posted the full score result sheet to the right.
“Small, lightweight vehicles have an inherent safety disadvantage. That’s why it’s even more important to choose one with the best occupant protection,” said Joe Nolan, IIHS’ senior VP for vehicle research. “Unfortunately, as a group, minicars aren’t performing as well as other vehicle categories in the small overlap crash.”
Scroll down for the official press release from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
IIHS tests 11 minicars, finds them wanting in small-overlap crash test originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Jan 2014 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
With less than two weeks before the Mazda Skyactiv Prototype makes its race debut at the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Japanese Zoom-Zoom brand brought its diesel-powered racer to the floor of the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.
The red prototype marks Mazda’s return to prototype racing, and will campaign the inaugural Tudor United SportsCar Championship using a 2.2-liter, SkyActiv-D diesel engine. With 451 horsepower on tap and 580 pound-feet of torque, the racer should stand up well against a field of gas-powered competitors.
Should the Skyactiv win Daytona, it’ll be a coup for Mazda. The racer is running an engine with over 50 percent of its parts drawn from the oft-delayed production Skyactiv-D. Head up top for our full gallery of images of the new Skyactiv Prototype. The 2014 Rolex 24 will be run from January 25 to 26.
2014 Mazda Skyactiv Prototype looks ready for Daytona originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Jan 2014 11:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Twenty-six years after it was introduced at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, the much anticipated fourth generation Mazda MX-5 Miata will meet the press at the 2015 Chicago show. A piece in Autocar refines some of the details on the larger, lighter Miata that a Mazda insider has said will be “our best-looking car ever.”
The company has relented on the quest for the metric tonne, the 1000-kilogram (2,200-pound) target too difficult to achieve in light of cost constraints. You can still expect it to lose a generous dollop of weight – Autocar says a curb weight of 1,100 kg (2,420 pounds) will still make it the lightest in its class. And Mazda will be stressing a fun driving experience through light weight and a modest amount of naturally-aspirated horsepower. Engine capacities of 1.5 and 2.0 liters are expected. Sounds familiar (and good), right?
The Miata’s interpretation of Kodo design will be veer from that found on the Mazda3 and Mazda6, with “very clean and simple” lines marking out “more muscular proportions” and elongated bodywork on a longer wheelbase. A stretched engine bay will make room for the current Skyactiv engine and perhaps the future Skyactiv 2 powerplants, initial reports suggesting there could be a 30-percent increase in fuel economy from the moment it arrives.
Two flavors of top-down operation will continue, those being the soft- and folding metal hardtop. That next iteration of the hardtop will lose weight and take up less space, making for a bigger bit of space in the trunk. The next Miata will go on sale in 2015, supposedly joined at some point by the Alfa Romeo brother it will share a platform with.
Next Mazda MX-5 Miata headed for 2015 Chicago debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Jan 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Japanese automakers haven’t lead the charge towards diesel power in the same way as, say, the Germans have. But Mazda is out to change that. It has been following Audi’s lead on the racetrack with oil-burning racecars right here in America, and will soon translate that excitement to the road by introducing its Skyactiv-D engine in North America. It just won’t happen as soon as we expected.
Mazda announced today that, while its diesel engine meets current emissions requirements, the company has decided once again to push back an introduction originally slated to kick off in the Spring. According to the brief statement below, Mazda wants to take more time to find “the right balance between fuel economy and Mazda-appropriate driving performance.”
In other words, the Zoom-Zoom brand apparently thinks its diesel engine doesn’t deliver the zoom-zoom American drivers would expect, so we’ll have to wait just a little bit longer. Details to follow closer to launch, whenever that will ultimately take place.
As Mazda continues the current rollout of its still-new Skyactiv technology, the automaker is already looking at improving its family of engines for even better fuel economy and emissions reductions. Automotive News reports that with stricter fuel economy and emissions regulations planned for 2020 and 2025 in Europe, Mazda will likely release engines with next-generation Skyactiv 2 technology by the end of this decade, and Skyactiv 3 units just five years later.
The latter is expected to focus on improved engine cooling and lessening energy losses, but the big news in AN’s report is that the next-gen Skyactiv 2 engines will use Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition, or HCCI. This type of ignition is very similar to how a diesel engine operates (with high compression and using the compression stroke for fuel combustion rather than spark plugs), a method said to provide a cleaner and more efficient fuel burn – to the tune of a 30-percent improvement in fuel economy compared to current Skyactiv engines. Other automakers, including Hyundai, have already announced they are developing HCCI powerplants with similar technology and characteristics, so Mazda likely won’t be a lone wolf here.
Equipped with HCCI technology, Mazda figures to be able to compete with larger automakers in terms of fuel economy and emissions without resorting to hybrid powertrains, continuously variable transmissions or automatics relying on more forward gears (eight or more) for optimal efficiency. Some of the challenges of HCCI, according to AN, include the need for better engine cooling, risk of misfire at high and low rpm and uneven engine performance based on fuel properties.
Mazda hard at work on Skyactiv 2 engine technology originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
With fluctuations in international currencies and rising shipping costs to take into account, foreign automakers can’t get away with building cars overseas and selling them in North America as easily as they used to. Particularly with inexpensive mainstream models. And given the benefits of cheaper labor and free trade under NAFTA, many have opted to assemble their cars for the North American market in Mexico. That’s why the likes of Toyota, Mercedes and BMW have all opened plants in Mexico. And now Mazda has followed suit.
Ground was initially broken for Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operations at Salamanca in the state of Gunajuato back in 2011, but production has just now gotten under way. The first vehicle to roll off the line? A Mazda3 sedan destined for the United States. Soon, the plant will begin production of the next Mazda2 as well, selling it alongside its larger counterpart across the Americas and in Europe as production expands to 230,000 units annually. For more information, see the official press release below.