Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars - FMVperformance.com : The site for all your Ford Mazda and Volvo needs
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars

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MARK RECHTIN | Automotive News
Posted Date: 1/31/05
LOS ANGELES -- Despite 35 years of selling cars in the United States, Mazda Motor Corp. still has problems giving Americans what they want.
Mazda has designed its vehicles mostly with the similar Japan and Europe in mind. For example, Americans prefer bump absorption to a firmer, responsive ride.

To battle this problem, Mazda North American Operations restructured its development process to get vehicles in line with U.S. sensibilities.

The parent company appointed global r&d Vice President Shiro Yoshioka -- who oversaw the Miata, RX-8 and Mazda6 programs -- to research ways to make Mazdas more palatable to Americans. Robert Davis, senior vice president of marketing and product development at Mazda North American Operations, was relieved of U.S. marketing oversight to concentrate solely on product and quality.

Starting early

John Parker, executive vice president of Mazda Motor, says the U.S. product development group has been too far upstream to make major r&d contributions.

"We haven't had a deep understanding of North American consumers. Now we're looking at feature content, driving dynamics, how to set up the transmission for North American driving circumstances," Parker says.

Being out of touch with the United States seems like a rookie mistake for a company that splits its 800,000 global sales evenly among Japan, Europe and North America.

To be fair, Mazda developed much of its current product line when the company was under financial duress. That meant Mazda funneled r&d spending into making the Mazda3 and Mazda6 global cars, without looking at regional differences.

Mazda is only now embracing the idea that there are major differences in vehicle dynamics among markets, says Joe Bakaj, Mazda Motor senior managing executive officer for r&d.

Americans want less shift shock from automatic transmissions, even if it sacrifices power. They want less lane drift, even if that makes for a loose on-center feel from the steering wheel.

"The American driver doesn't want to float down the road, but he does want isolation from hard shocks from impact strips or rough tarmac," Bakaj says.

U.S. preferences

Some of the other dislikes include:

>>> Seat backs and cushions are too small for many Americans.
>>> Cupholders are too small for Big Gulps and Starbucks grandes.
>>> Climate control systems can't handle cold winters and hot summers.
>>> Mazda has been late to the party with telematics connections for iPod, Bluetooth, satellite radio and navigation systems.

Then there are problems with basic vehicle layout. The gearshift on the Tribute's steering column interferes with access to radio controls. While Japanese drivers like the MPV's windshield wiper controls on a single stalk, Americans like their rear-window wiper controls to be separate.

Bakaj said these changes would require technical measurements well beyond the scope of "seat-of-the-pants engineering."

Mazda's U.S. engineers will get assistance from parent Ford Motor Co. test centers in Michigan and Arizona.
Say it isn't so! Gah!! (Cup holders too small? Seats too small?!) I mean it's true, that too many American's like their cupholders and seats large enough to hold their big butts (sad truth in that there are too many overweight people in America). I'm 6ft tall and 220lbs., but I fit just fine in my Mazda 3! And softening the responsiveness of the ride? Geez...I blame the lazy spoiled drivers who don't realize that not all roads go in a straight line nor smooth as glass. And having a responsive handle & feel to the car will more likely help you avoid an on-coming accident.

Don't do it Mazda! Don't submit! I know you want to make money just like every other car manufacturer, but please stick with us enthusiasts.

EDIT: We should all write to Mazda and tell them don't ruin their "Zoom-Zoom." It seems like the fickle promise of American dollars has blinded them to their philosophy.

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 05:45 PM
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Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars

The only thing I agree on is the climate control system stuff.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 05:46 PM
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Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Leave my suspension alone, you bastards! I want to drive a car, not a boat!


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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 05:48 PM
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Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars

I either agree or don't care about everything in there, except the suspension thing. Don't want to make the suspension like every other car out there.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 06:08 PM
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Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars

glad i bought my car before the changed it.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 06:37 PM
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Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars

Guess this is my first and last Mazda.

Enjoy your spahgetti, you're very rude.


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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 06:56 PM
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Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars

YOU FOOLS!!! *runs into the corner sobbing like a toddler with a skinned knee*

Eat right, exercise regularly, die anyway.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 07:20 PM
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Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars

Seat backs and cushions are too small for many Americans.
>>> Cupholders are too small for Big Gulps and Starbucks grandes.





thats cause we got to many damn fat people here,THATS SAD!


everything is fine with the cars, the only thing i dont like is the rear brake dust....[/u][/b]


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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 08:00 PM
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Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars

^^ Rear brake dust and ac/heat. Heck even the heat isn't too bad.

My dad's a big guy and he doesn't have a problem sitting in the passenger seat. We don't need the Clumps telling Mazda what size seats to put in their car. Soon we'll be going back to front bench seats.

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 08:06 PM
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Mazda wants to "Americanize" their NA cars

Bastards!!!! We should be blaming american culture though to a point. Slowly the manual transmission has begun to fade in the U.S. With this, we, the enthusiasts have to take the punches as they come. The automotive market has been forcing changes like this due to such creations as the SUV and mini van.

I could write volumes about this and why it Sucks!!!!!

The STi, EVO, Mazdaspeed Miata and other new gems make us keep the faith!!!!!!

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