Archive for March, 2014

Are you the facelifted Toyota Yaris?

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 29th, 2014

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Toyota Yaris

As basic transportation goes, there’s not a lot to complain about with the Toyota Yaris. The five-door hatch (not to mention its JDM cousin, the Vitz) are due for upgrades, though, having toddled along in its current form since the 2011 model year. Now, we have what looks to be leaked images of the new Yaris, straight from a Japanese brochure.

The next-gen Yaris was previewed in Frankfurt by the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept. Surprisingly, both the standard version and the RS (shown above) share a strong resemblance with the Frankfurt concept. That gaping lower intake remains, while a pointy, sharp front end shares a resemblance with the new Aygo city car (though the Yaris won’t have a giant X on its face like its smaller cousin). The lower intake is flanked by a pair of what we’re guessing are non-functional grilles, which house the fog lights. There are only a few small images of the rear of the car, which looks more like an evolution of the current five-door hatch.

The interior looks rather racy, with a small, thick-rimmed, leather-wrapped steering wheel and black cloth seats with red contrast stitching. There’s a bright red button to the right of the steering wheel on this right-hand-drive JDM model, which could indicate the arrival of pushbutton start. Under hood of this Mazda-built Toyota should be a Mazda Skyactiv engine. That gives us hope that this latest Toyota compact will be imbued with some sense of driving fun.

Take a look up top at the brief gallery of leaked images, and then head into Comments and let us know what you think.

Are you the facelifted Toyota Yaris? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 28 Mar 2014 16:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda Production and Sales Results for February 2014 (Flash Report)

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 27th, 2014

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Will Mazda show the next Miata’s chassis in NY?

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 21st, 2014

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Mazda MX-5 Miata Spy Shot

Mazda is being very sneaky about what it is bringing to the New York Auto Show, and it might have something to do with the next-generation MX-5 Miata. Australian website Motoring.com.au spoke to a company insider who told the Aussie publication that at least the chassis for the roadster will debut in Manhattan. As the rumor goes, the show will act as a kickoff for the PR campaign for the new model.

We contacted Mazda USA PR Director Jeremy Barnes to find out more, and he would neither confirm nor deny the rumor. “Just because you read it on the Internet doesn’t mean you should repeat it,” he said to Autoblog. That’s not exactly an outright denial.

Supporting evidence that the new droptop might be appearing in the Big Apple includes Mazda’s plan to celebrate the model’s 25th anniversary at the show. It’s bringing 15 cars from the first three generations to display. “It will be absolutely worth attending the New York Auto Show if you’re a Miata fan,” Barnes said. That at least hints that there might be something he’s not telling us. Otherwise, it’s a lot of sizzle without any new steak.

The new MX-5’s platform has been developed as a joint venture between Alfa Romeo and Mazda. However, there is now a question whether Alfa is going to actually use the platform, because Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne reportedly refuses to build the cars outside of Italy. Thankfully, the wait won’t be very long to find out whether some portion of the new Miata is being unveiled, because the New York Auto Show opens on April 16.

Will Mazda show the next Miata’s chassis in NY? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Mar 2014 15:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda to celebrate 25 years of MX-5 with 15 Miatas in New York

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 20th, 2014

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1989 Mazda Miata

Having first debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has been on the market now for an impressive 25 years. So to celebrate that quarter-century anniversary, Mazda is bringing no less than 15 examples of the legendary roadster from throughout its history to the New York Auto Show this year.

Mazda isn’t saying just which versions of the MX-5 it’s bringing to the Javitz center this year, but with three generations to choose from and over 900,000 units built and sold, there are plenty of examples – including production versions, special editions and concept cars.

What would really put the cherry on this birthday cake, however, would be if Mazda were to surprise us in Manhattan with the debut of the highly anticipated fourth-generation Miata that we’re expecting to debut sometime this year.

The new MX-5 is tipped to go back to its roots style-wise, but grow in length ever so slightly to accommodate the requirements of Alfa Romeo, which was supposed to be partnering with Mazda on the development of the new roadster but is now said to be getting cold feet over the prospect of manufacturing an Alfa in Japan.

Continue reading Mazda to celebrate 25 years of MX-5 with 15 Miatas in New York

Mazda to celebrate 25 years of MX-5 with 15 Miatas in New York originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Mar 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nobel Peace Prize Winner Lech Walesa Visits Mazda

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 19th, 2014

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Mazda3 sales off to rocky start despite massive critical acclaim [UPDATE]

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 19th, 2014

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2014 Mazda3

UPDATE: We’ve updated this post to include quotes and information from Eric Booth, Senior Manager of Public Relations at Mazda USA.

Like just about every other auto publication we’ve seen, we loved the way the Mazda3 drove when we reviewed it a few months ago, but those glowing reviews apparently aren’t helping its sales. The new compact may be falling victim to a sales war between the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, with the newcomer getting squeezed out by those with more established names and bigger marketing budgets.

According to Automotive News, Mazda3 sales have fallen every month since last August, and its sales are down 27 percent in the first two months of 2014. It certainly isn’t helping that the entire compact segment is down five percent this year as well.

The biggest problem for the new model seems to be its price compared to rivals. Mazda is not offering the incentives that are on the hood of competitors. With the previous generation, the company offered more than $2,700 on the hood to move them out, but the current model only carries about $1,233 in markdowns, according to AN. “We are not chasing sales volume; we are chasing profit,” says Eric Booth, Senior Manager of Public Relations at Mazda USA.

There is hope on the horizon, though. Mazda’s factory in Mexico will build 10,000 Mazda3s a month by June. “The Mexican plant will help Mazda profitability,” said industry analyst Stephanie Brinley of IHS Automotive to Autoblog. Also, keep in mind that the automaker has about half as many dealers as Toyota or Honda. Brinley said that the 3 doesn’t have to match the volume of the Corolla to be a success, but it “doesn’t want to get lost in the noise,” she said.

If the Mazda wants the 3 to keep up, it will need to find a way to either price the car more competitively or show customers why it’s worth the extra cash over the Corolla and Civic. It’s quite a challenge.

Mazda3 sales off to rocky start despite massive critical acclaim [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Mar 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda Begins Production of the All-new Mazda3 in Thailand

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 14th, 2014

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Remember when C-segment cars were supposed to be hot stuff? Yeah, about that…

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 10th, 2014

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Honda Civic

What do the Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Jetta all have in common? Well, actually, lots. They are all four-door sedans that fall into the so-called C-segment, and they are all trending downward in sales. This data comes courtesy of Wards Auto, and, while not all such vehicles are down – the Hyunai Elantra has been trending upward – the deficit reportedly rings in at six-percent overall for the segment.

Where are all those compact sedan buyers going? To compact SUVs, at least in part. Wards cites data showing that sales of small SUVs and crossovers are up big over the last several months. Vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 are all showing sales increases as buyers shift from sedans to utility vehicles, says Wards.

Still, it’s way too early for automakers to give up on C-segment sedans. Though down, sales of popular models like the Civic and Corolla are good enough to put them well into the top 10 sales chart (in ninth and sixth place, respectively).

Remember when C-segment cars were supposed to be hot stuff? Yeah, about that… originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda goes on engineer hiring binge as recovery picks up speed

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 10th, 2014

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Japan’s larger automakers – companies like Toyota, Honda and Nissan – have tremendous engineering talent at their disposal. That’s largely because, selling as many cars as they do, they’ve got more revenues to tap into. Logic might dictate, then, that smaller automakers like Mazda, which no longer has the deep pockets afforded to it by its former partnership with Ford, might have less of a budget and workforce for engineering. But Mazda has been raking in record profits, and it plans on cashing those revenues in by hiring a substantial new pool of engineers.

According to Automotive News, Mazda is preparing to hire as many as 185 new engineers over the next two years – almost four times as many as the 50 engineers it previously targeted. Many of those engineers will be put to work developing the second-generation, Skyactiv 2 technologies that are on the drawing board while the first round of Skyactiv features are still being rolled out.

The boost in recruitment is enabled by a positive fiscal year that ended last March, marking the first profits Mazda had logged in four years. Sources anticipate that the fiscal year culminating at the end of this month will mark the company’s most profitable yet, netting over a billion dollars to eclipse the fiscal year that ended in 2008 when it recorded $872.5 million in profits.

Mazda goes on engineer hiring binge as recovery picks up speed originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Mar 2014 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toyota will use Mazda’s Skyactiv engine in new subcompact

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 8th, 2014

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Mazda Hazumi Concept

It looks like Toyota is going to have a little more zoom-zoom in the future. The giant Japanese automaker has struck a deal with Mazda to use its Skyactiv engines for the possible replacement to the Yaris. The new subcompact will be built under contract by Mazda at its new factory in Mexico.

Keishi Egawa, CEO of Mazda in Mexico, told Automotive News that Toyota would be responsible for the interior and exterior design and would allocate 50,000 subcompacts per year to Toyota of the factory’s 230,000-unit capacity. Production of the new model will begin between April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016. Toyota has not confirmed whether the presumed Yaris replacement would also share other components with Mazda.

An official production date for the next Mazda2 hasn’t been set yet, but it’s expected around the second half of 2014, according to Automotive News. Mazda also hasn’t said what version of the Skyactiv is going into the little hatchback. While the Hazumi concept, which likely previews the next 2, is using a new Skyactiv-D 1.5 diesel, this powerplant is unlikely for the US version.

The deal seems to be an ultimate vindication of Mazda’s promise that Skyactiv would allow for class-leading, fuel-efficient engines. “You can’t out-Toyota Toyota and you can’t out-Honda Honda. You’ve got to be you,” said Mazda USA’s director of communications Jeremy Barnes to AutoblogGreen in 2011. Now, it has the world’s largest automaker striking a deal to borrow its tech.

Toyota will use Mazda’s Skyactiv engine in new subcompact originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 08 Mar 2014 15:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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