Wednesday, March 7, 2018

This is How Mazda Keeps Building Cars Worth Driving


Haven’t you noticed anything with Mazda lately? Despite being a small carmaker (it has about a 4 percent market share in Japan and 2-3 percent globally), they’ve continued to make fresh products year after year. How have they been able to accomplish this?

Typically, when a carmaker launches a new vehicle, there’s a natural rate of diminishing appeal as it gets older. And while it’s bound to get a midcycle facelift after two to three years (probably with new bumpers and wheels), it never is going to be as sought-after as much as when it was new.


Mazda, it seems, has found a way around this slump is able to keep their products appealing throughout its five to six-year lifespan. In fact, since 2012, the company has made annual improvements on all their vehicles to make them continuously competitive. A case in point is the Mazda3. Launched in 2014, it saw updates in 2015 (introduction of the Speed model), 2016 (heavy refresh internally referred to in Mazda as IPM), 2017 (introduction of new colors), and 2018 (360-degree camera, added active safety features). With these improvements, the Mazda3 actually became a better car; better even than some of its much-newer rivals. And strong sales year after year simply cements that fact even more.

But how has Mazda managed to accomplish something that virtually no other carmaker has? How could they afford all these improvements given they’re of minuscule scale in both budget and capital? It all goes back to their Monozukuri Innovation. Although it’s more commonly associated with a flexible manufacturing process, Mazda applies this way of thinking in the way they design, engineer, and build their cars.


Starting with the first-generation CX-5 in 2012, Mazda has embarked on what they call Bundled Product Planning. With this, Mazda develops their products five to ten years ahead using fixed or common factors. Skyactiv, for instance, is a result of this integrated planning. In the development of Skyactiv engines, the R&D department worked with manufacturing to produce a high-compression gasoline or low-compression diesel that can be easily mass-produced. Even the roll out of Mazda Connect, Active Driving Display, and i-ACTIVSENSE charted the same path.

Moving to a common architecture, Mazda has achieved a way to shorten lead times and save resources without any detriment to customer value. Typically, after product development has settled on a design, the manufacturing division tries to reproduce this design. Unfortunately, this leads to gaps between the design and eventual production model. Mazda resolves this by integrating designers and engineers, making them work in unison. They can actually do design evaluations on a computer before proceeding to a die fabrication process to then realize the design.


This way of thinking at Mazda is so ingrained that their opening video montage (a trademark at very product presentation) sums it up best: “These are the cars worth building. These are the cars worth driving.”

25 comments:

  1. If I'm buying a Mazda, it's Mx5 or nothing.

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  2. All Mazdas have the same dna of the MX-5. ;)

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  3. That Mazda 6 grille is a rip off from Jaguar. LOL!

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    1. And is that a bad thing? Just like ford fiesta and focus which used the aston martin grille, its not a bad thing to copy from luxury brands. Kaysa naman kumopya ka halimbawa sa Tata o sa Ssangyong, yun ang mahirap.

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    2. Are you blind? Jaguar grilles have a squarish shape, far from the rounded v shape of mazdas. And their grille greatly complements their logo.

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    3. Are you blind as well? I said for the Mazda 6 only not for the entire Mazda line up.

      Take a look at the Jaguar grill in Google, it's exactly the same with the 2018 Mazda 6.

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    4. I searched it and took a second look and no. As I've said, it is a squarish grill compared to Mazda's rounded v shape grill.

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    5. I know Jaguar's a bit squarish and Mazda's a little bit V shaped but my point is they copied Jaguar's grill design. It's blatantly obvious.

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    6. Correction, it's U shape ish and not V shaped.

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    7. You still didn't answer why its a bad thing to copy from luxury brands.

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    8. That Mazda 6 has 4 wheels, it must have ripped off Benz's first car! Lulz.

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  4. The picture at the top looks like it was ripped off the Kia Sorento grill

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    1. But the Mazda 6 came out first so it should be the other way around.

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    2. That grill at the top is new for 2018. Last year's model is still the horizontal bar while the Sorento has that grill since 2014. Therefore, Mazda ripped it off Kia

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    3. If you searched way past back, Mercedes did it first. The Asians copied it from the Germans. Germans>Asians

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    4. Wow, how many ways can you make a grill. Hey, it has a horizontal/vertical/crosshatched/chickenwire grill, tgerefore it must have ripped off the grill from an earlier car that used the same grill pattern. Lulz. These morons are as silly as the Honda rice-gheys.

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  5. It's sad that all the people above only looked at the exterior, while good looking, they still found something negative in it but never the positives. I'm not even sure if they read the whole article.

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  6. Too many Mazda-centric PRs in this website. Buti pa sa TG balanced

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    1. If we find interesting stories to share about any brand we will write about it. It just so happened that the Mazda ASEAN forum just ended and we got a lot of new stories from there.

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    2. Those TG guys are too focused on Mitsubishi and Honda. This is the best site compared to TG. carguide>autoindustriya>TG

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    3. Sipsip! Magkano cut mo?

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    4. ^Just stating the fact. Head over to topgear and autoindustriya and compared the writing and the layout of their websites. Autoindustriya is quite decent, but TG is not worthy of the TG name.

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    5. TG is a shill for whoever is their biggest advertisers, that's pretty obvious. Just look at how they reported about the Mitsu SUA issue. They practically became extensions of Mitsu's marketing department.

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    6. Carguide is currently the best local automotive site even during the heydays of TGP. The reason why i support Sir Uly. They have have an accurate/close to accurate info's to back it up unlike TGP who's like a walking advertisement.

      Carguide>Autoindustriya>TGP

      On the other side, i do agree that there's a lot of Mazda apologist here. As a matter of car, some of them are noobs.

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