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Mazda - Does it have a good future in US?

guestguest Posts: 774
Mazda has made alot of profits in Europe of late but in the US is facing declining popularity. Sales have been down for the past year and a half since an upswing spanning 1998-2001 with vehicles sold around 240,000-260,000 around that time. Remember this is a car company that sold 345,000-370,000 cars in the US between the years 1990-1994. With that said should Mazda just banned the US market and focus their efforts on the European Market or does it have a long lasting future in the US? Opinions please:
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Comments

  • leomaccord1leomaccord1 Posts: 21
    The 626 with the Ford auto tranny comes to mind...

    I think Mazda is regaining the respect among the public and with strong products (Pro, Trib, 6, RX8) I think there future looks pretty bright.

    I'm rooting for them! Bring it on!
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Posts: 1,583
    Why would you want to keep one of the best Japanese brands away from NA shores?!??!?!

    People should just be glad that there's still a car company in NA that makes well-built, inexpensive vehicles that are fun to drive!

    go buy Mazda! NOW!
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    The 2004 Mustang will be built at the Flat Rock plant, which is a joint Ford-Mazda plant. The Mazda 6 platform will be used for the upcoming Ford Futura, as well as other Ford (and possibly Mercury) spin-offs. Mazda is also working with Ford and Volvo on the new global small-car platform, which will be used for the next-generation Focus and Volvo S40/V40, as well as the Mazda Protege replacement, the Mazda 3.

    Based on those plans, I'd say that Mazda does have a future in this country.
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Posts: 518
    I was shocked that the Mazda 6 did not cause a sales increase for the company. Everything I read about the 6 seemed very promising, and I think the car looks much better than its primary competitor, the Altima. I don't understand why the Altima (which is cheap looking IMHO) sells so much better than the 6.

    -Andrew L
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    I don't to keep Mazda away from NA shores. Consumers want to. Looks at the stats: Mitsubishi, VW, and Kia even outsell Mazda. Those car companies don't even have good quality. VW has good cars but all kinds of reliability problems. Mitsu is going to the Japanese Pontiac stuff. Its hard to believe how one bad tranny a decade ago could affect a Car Company's success a decade later. Acura had a bunch a blown tranny's but it didn't create a huge sales downturn like it did for Mazda(1995-1997.)

    As for the Altima the car came out out almost a year and a half before the 6 did. 6 sales have been up every month since its debut but Mazda expected alot more sales for the 6 than this.

    I think it would be more profitable for Mazda just to sell cars in Europe. In the US Mazda was such a promising company in the late 80's/early 90's and than the 94 626 with the Ford Tranny killed their name they worked so hard for. After 1995 all their loyal buyers went to other brands. Mazda still hasn't gained those customers back in a decade. Its hard to believe the year of the Ford Tranny was their best selling year(94) and then everything just went downhill. In fact Mazda went 3 years(1995)without making a profit in a month until 1998.
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    Mazda's are good cars and nicely built. I guess they are the Japanese BMW now.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I too would have to say Mazda's future is bright in the U.S. I think Mazda's problem is at the dealer level. They are often paired with VW, Subaru or Kia/Hyundai franchises. That surely can't help. The Mazda 6 just needs a few detail changes to help it out. First of all not everyone wants black leather in their Sport model, and some rear-seat headrests would help too. The car just kinda comes off cheap inside. Mazda simply guessed wrong on which 6 model would be the most sought after, every time I've tried to look at the car the dealer never had any 6s w/sport pk in stock always a lot full of 6i models with nothing on them. I also think the lack of product, lackluster product like the 626, 929 and Millenia etc all in the face of a re-born Nissan, newer products from Toyota and Honda and the emerging Koreans are much more to blame for Mazda's sales number than a transmission issue of 8+ years ago. Remember Audi came back from a far worse issue and they did it with sheer product.

    M
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    I haven't driven a 6, but have sat in one. I have driven an Altima. While the 6 is a noble effort, it's just too small inside to really make in impact in the family sedan field. I would actually consider an Altima as a viable replacement for my '00 Intrepid. It actually has *more* legroom up front, and only a little less in back.

    In contrast, the 6 feels tiny inside. It's cramped for me up front, and the back seat is practically non-existent. I actually fit better in a Dodge Neon! Now the 6 makes a good niche product, as a small sport sedan, but it's just not big enough to cut it in the bread-and-butter family car market.

    Also, in person, I didn't find the 6 interior to be all that impressive. I can't remember if it had any major fit/finish concerns, but there was enough cheap plastic inside to remind you that this ain't no premium car!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    ...a few Mazda models were really Fords in disguise. The Mazda Navajo was an Explorer underneath and I believe they once had a pickup that was really a Ranger. Didn't the Probe and the MX6 share platforms?

    Trivia: Mazda was the brand name of the most popular light bulb in the early 20th Century.
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    Yeah Mazda does have some crazy option packages with the 6 but the 02+ Altima is far worse in terms of option packages. Mazda should have done trime levels like they did previously with the 626: DX, LX, and ES not I and S trim levels like they have with the 6 now. The 626 was not a bad car at all. The 88-92 626 was a great seller to. 93 was a good year for the 626. 94-97 626 models had those tranny problems with the 4 cylinder. 98-02 626's just didn't do well for some reason.

    As far as the 6 is concermed its like a front wheel drive 3 Series. I don't expect it to be big inside like the Altima.

    I do think Hyundai has taken a bite out of Mazda sales. Toyota and Honda: thats a little different buyer than the Mazda buyer.

    Everybody says how the 323, 626, and 929 model line was lacklauster but Mazda their best selling years with that model line. In 1995 when they switched to the Protege, 626, and Millenia line is when sales took a big hit. The Millenia didn't sell well as Mazda thought it would so thats why it died.
  • leomaccord1leomaccord1 Posts: 21
    A 93 GT with the V6 and an auto (Number 150 something ever built). Yes underpinnings were identical to the MX6. Great little car, lot of tranny problems with the V6 (I had none of them in 120K miles I kept it for but...) That Probe was suppose to be the new Mustang!!! Funny, because on the highway it would run neck in neck with 5.0 Mustangs (Off the line, forgetaboutit) Funny, cause what little niggles I had with the car were Ford parts, what stayed together was Mazda parts...

    Regarding the 6 versus Altima sales, THe 6 is far more handsome than the Nissan, although interior-wise, neither are impressive, but the seats in the Mazda are better IMO, and the dash layout and ergonomics aren't as cheap in the 6. The Altima V6 is a bit quicker, but I would put the Mazda under the category of Japanese BMW before the Nissan for overall driving excitment.
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    The 88-92 MX-6's were very reliable. The 93 was reliable. The 94-97 MX-6 4 cylinder auto's had the Ford Tranny just like the 626 4 cyl auto's did and that spelled alot of transmission problems for Mazda. Ford has owned a share of Mazda since the late 70's. Here's what I don't understand: Why did Ford have to get in Mazda's way especially when Mazda was at their highpoint in the early 90's? It seemed like Ford did some pretty questionable things with Mazda around 1993-1994 like the rebadged Ranger Pickup(Mazda had made their own pick-up truck in the 80's.) Then, the tranny in the 4 cyl auto's in the 626 and MX-6 in 1994. Ford intefered too much on what Mazda was trying to do. Another thing Ford did was buy more of a share of Mazda in 1996 when Mazda was losing money like crazy. I guess Mazda wuldn'rt exist now if not for Ford buying more of a share in Mazda. I look it at like this: The 95 Protege was a dud in the market: the 99-03 Protege has done alot better in terms of sales for Mazda. The Millenia never did well. Those Ford Tranny's are to blame too. So its basically half Mazda's fault and Ford's fault for Mazda's market position in the car market today.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    was also based on the same platform as the Probe and the MX-6. They just went through greater lengths to differentiate them in '93, so it wasn't as obvious.

    I've heard that too, that if you got a Probe with a V-6 and a manual, you could get years of troublefree service, but throw a 4-cyl and/or an automatic tranny into the mix, and suddenly you got one of the most expensive-to-maintain Ford badged cars there was at the time! At least, I knew a guy with a '94 Probe, and that's what the Ford dealer told him when he had to have it in for service. Its tranny went out once under warranty, with about 30-35K on it, and #2 went out when the car had about 85K on it.

    The Ford Escort, from 1991 on, and the Tracer, as long as there has been one, were also based on Mazda designs...the 323/Protege.

    I think even to this day, the Focus and Protege share some underpinnings, such as suspension components and perhaps some structural metal.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    have a Ford tranny in it?
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    are 2 different animals completely.
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    No that did not have the Ford Tranny in it. The Millenia was as reliable as anything from Honda or Toyota. The 626 and MX-6 4 Cylinder auto models were the only ones to have the Ford Tranny in it. I think the rebadged Ranger might have had the Ford tranny in it too but I'm not that sure.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    ...like the Ranger and the Explorer wannabes were pure Ford underneath, just with a Mazda badge and a few trim shuffles. GM did something similar with Isuzu, dumping the Japanese Hombre pickup for a rebadge of the Chevy S-10.

    It's kind of an ironic twist, considering that Mazda and Isuzu used to build Ford and GM's small trucks!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    doused Mazda's sport appeal, which IMO is the best reason for its existence. In the mid to late 90s their products were all "zoom-zoom" PR and no substance to back the claim, except for Miata.

    They still have credibility to be that sports car excitement company, but I wish they would do two things:

    (1) put rotaries in a lot more of their products. There just is no engine quite as exciting to drive as one of those puppies when it winds itself out. It could certainly go in Miata, the RX-7 I hope they will produce again, and even a sport compact based on Protege (now to be called the '3').

    (2) get rid of every product that is just a rebadged Ford. That would currently include the B-series trucks and the Tribute (any others I am missing?). And then never introduce another one. I believe the new '3' will be all Mazda, right?, with Ford then borrowing it for the new Focus or something? That is not so great either, but at least it is Mazda-developed, and they can't stop Ford from poaching since they are the owners!

    I think it is a good idea for Mazda to have a sporty mini-ute, which the Tribute is. But it should be an independent effort. If this is not possible due to cost constraints, I am not so sure they would not be better off without it. And it has been more than a decade since Mazda built or designed its own pick-ups. Maybe it is time to just give that niche truck a rest permanently.

    BTW, count me in the crowd that thinks Altima looks better than the '6'. But beyond looks which are so subjective, the midsize sedan is a fiercely competitive segment, especially right now when so many of the offerings are fast and sporty. Call me crazy, but I think the best way for Mazda to distinguish itself in that segment would be to offer rotary-powered cars...they would just have to be sure to differentiate it sufficiently from the RX8.

    I really hope the RX8 sells well. Mazda deserves real credit for that one.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • leomaccord1leomaccord1 Posts: 21
    I would be the first on the waiting list... The last generation RX-7 with the rotary TT was the wildest ride I've ever been in! That thing would embarrass alot of V8 powered ponies...
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    The only other company I know that put rotary engines in production is the now defunct German NSU. I believe AMC and General Motors toyed with the idea of the rotary engine. General Motors contemplated giving the Corvette a mid-engine rotary in the early 1970s and the AMC Pacer was originally intended to have a rotary engine. The rotary engine almost killed Mazda in the early '70s due to oil consumption issues and seal failure.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    but traditionally, rotary engines don't get very good gas mileage. I think it has something to do with the combustion chambers having too much surface area, which draws too much heat away, or something like that? Anyway, a '95 Mazda RX-7 is EPA rated at 17/25. Just for comparison, so is a '95 Corvette.

    Routine maintenance on them is critical, too. If you don't keep up on oil and coolant changes, they can deteriorate very quickly. Stuff you should do anyway, with any engine, but with rotaries it's more critical. I'm guessing because they rev faster, so they're more strained?

    So basically, we have a high-maintenance engine that's expensive when it breaks, and guzzles and pollutes as much as a V-8 more than 4 times its size. Sounds like it would end up on the short list for most bean-counter managers. Sounds like a miracle that it ever got out of the experimental stages!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    things have changed substantially with the new rotary that will go in the RX8.

    They have changed the apex seals on the rotors to be much more durable and long-lasting.

    They have changed the location of the exhaust ports so they run a lot less dirty smog-wise.

    And the new engine produces the same power as the old twin-turbo, only it is normally aspirated.

    PLUS it gets better mileage than the 17/25 of old.

    And they don't rev faster than Honda's i-VTECs...both have a 9000 rpm redline. Think S2000!

    Subaru has regained major market share by being the Japanese "AWD company". It seems to me Mazda could become the "rotary company" along with the usual dose of that zoom-zoom PR. Rotaries lend themselves to lightweight applications due to their low torque, so they couldn't put one in the minivan for instance. But they could have rotaries in all their cars...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    is the RX-8 supposed to get? I haven't been able to find any fuel economy figures for it. Can the new engine run on regular unleaded, or does it still need premium?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    and I don't think it has been tested by the EPA yet, but when they first introduced the RX8, they said fuel economy should be more on the order of 20/28.

    We will have to wait to see if their statement regarding bump in fuel efficiency is true, however. Since the car will be on the road soon, the official EPA numbers should be available any day now....

    The old non-turbo RX7s ran on regular gas, so one would hope the new ones will too. However, I will bet since it is important to obtain maximum horsepower figutres for this type of car, they will recommend premium.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • the_big_hthe_big_h Posts: 1,583
    in the RX-8 will require premium gas (higher compression compared to older NA RX-7s)

    and 20/30 is the targeted gas mileage Mazda has listed on their website.

    the advancement in material and oil injection technology has allowed the exhaust port to be relocated to the side housing instead of on the peripheral. This change dramatically reduces emission, allows more complete combustion, thus resulting in more power, all without forced induction :-)

    it's not like Mazda just put the rotary on the shelf when they stopped selling it in the US in 1996... A lot of development has taken place during that time...
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Posts: 1,583
    and I think it is a GOOD THING that they didn't make Mazda6 a bloated beast like the Altima.

    For a 'global car' that is to be sold all over the world, Mazda6 simply can't have the 'All-American' size and proportion. It has to be more compact to fit the narrower and smaller roads of Europe and Japan and Southeast Asia.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    it's not that the Altima is bloated, exactly, just that the Mazda 6 isn't very space-efficient.

    The 6 is 70.1 inches wide, compared to 70.4 inches for the Altima. In the real world, that's practically imperceptible. The Altima is about 5 inches longer though, 191.5" versus 185.8", and the wheelbase is longer by about the same amount...110.2" versus 105.3". So basically, both cars have about the same amount of overhang, it's just that the Altima has more between the wheel centers.

    Turning circles? The Altima's is 37.4 feet, while the 6 is actually larger, at 38.7 feet. You'd think that a shorter wheelbase would allow the 6 to make a tighter U-turn, but that's not the case here.

    Weight? The Altima 2.5S manual is listed at 3039 lb, while the smaller Mazda 6 4-cyl manual is a slightly chunkier 3042 lb.

    I'm not saying it's a bad thing, necessarily, that the 6 is smaller than the Altima, Accord, Camry, and competing cars. But because it is, it's not going to have the wide appeal of those other cars, either. Now if Mazda can find enough buyers that will go for the 6, more power to 'em. It's never going to take on the big boys though, unless it grows up.
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    I made a mistake before: The Protege nameplate came put in 1990 not 1995. The 1st generation Protege debut for the 1990 model year.

    Its impossible for Mazda to develop all their products independently because they don't have money to do that. This is a company that almost went defunct in 1996 and has been in and out of the red since 1998.

    As for the 6 growing I don't think its has to. The 3 Series is smaller than a Maxima, TL, and Es 300 and still sells really well so I don't think size is a problem with the 6. Mazda just needs to get their name out there more.

    As for the Altima and 6 comparison in styling the 6 will date better than the Altima I think. The Altima is nice looking but the 6 just looks better to me.

    As for the 3 Ford will give Volvo and Mazda seperate platforms so it it will be based on a Ford Focus Platform. The bright spot is it will be made in Japan so all the kinks should be worked out in a small period of time. Some parts wil be from Ford based on what somebody said on another board on this site so I'm kind of worried about that though. Platform sharing doesn't bother me though. Its kind of sad to see the Protege name go because Mazda is best known for the Protege now. The 3 will have to build its repulation up. I hope Mazda keeps the names 3 and 6 for a long time rather than renaming their cars every decade. That leads to confusion among non-automobile enthusiasts(mostly the buying public.)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    I do agree that the 6 is a nicer looking car. It's better-proportioned. The Altima's greenhouse is a bit large in comparison to the rest of the car, and it's downright stubby in back, whereas the 6 just seems to flow better.

    It's just not a suitable car for me because I can't fit comfortably in it! Oh well, blame my mother...she should've married a shorter guy!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    with regard to the bottom line, Ford has a lot of money invested in Mazda at this point, not to mention the fact that Mazda engineering is useful to it in lots of different ways globally, so I am quite sure Mazda's future is secure in NA for quite a while yet!

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

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