Mazda2 may be on the Chopping Block

As with its platform-mate, the Ford Fiesta, the Mazda2 hasn’t exactly made hay with the monthly sales numbers. Unlike it’s Ford relative, however, Mazda isn’t committed to sticking it out with the Mazda2 in the U.S. Ford has gone on record as saying it will remain committed to the Fiesta here, while a report in Automotive News claims the next-generation Mazda2, due around 2014, might skip our shores. The lack of momentum in the U.S. subcompact market is one of the causes, as is the Mazda2’s price: with an asking price of $14,530, it is only $670 less expensive than the four-door Mazda3.

The Japanese company is focusing on its volume models and on getting its Skyactiv technologies fully integrated throughout the line. We’ve now got a full look at the Mazda6, and AN suggest the 2.2-liter twin-turbo diesel with 170 horsepower and 310 pound feet of torque could come to the U.S. after the sedan is launched here.

The next Mazda3 will be a showcase of lightweight and efficient Skyactiv tech, with 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter direct-injection engines on offer, a diesel and i-Eloop regenerative braking being considered. The lighter, more powerful MX-5 Miata is expected to be here in about two years time, and a rotary-powered sports car is still being worked on well behind the scenes.

A $200,000 Mazda Miata?

Mazda has just revealed the latest iteration of its MX-5 Miata GT4 race car, and it promises to be the meanest one you’ll ever meet.

Mazda has Jota Sport building the GT4 using carbon fiber doors, splitter rear diffuser and wing with an FIA-spec roll cage inside. Under the hood crouches a turbocharged 2.0-liter MZR cranking out 320 horsepower. In a car that only weighs only 2,200 pounds, every horse is pulling less than seven pounds each. A six-speed sequential shift gearbox is standard equipment. A separate cooling system for the differential and gearbox keeps things less heated and adjustable traction control helps keep the car between the lines. Mazda says the Mazda Miata MX-5 will be fully homologated for GT4 racing.

“The car is an easy car to race and would even suit track day enthusiasts. We are still developing the car, but we are now at a point that we can offer this car (Mazda Miata) to customers safe in the knowledge that it is going to be a front runner in any GT4 field,” says Sam Hignett, Managing Director of Jota Group.

All that fast won’t come cheap. The monster Mazda Miata starts at $197k with options like soft touch control panel, lithium power pack, endurance exhaust and four-way adjustable dampers taking the price up and up. Despite the daunting price, the Miata still works out as pretty affordable by turnkey GT4 standards.

The Mazda Miata MX-5.. The years of the Roadster

Mazda has had many decently selling vehicles since its beginnings, but none so fan led and enthusiast loved as the Mazda Miata MX-5. It is in fact so loved that it is in the Guinness World Record book as the best selling two-seat sports car in history. This is the history of Mazda’s roadster and how this world came to love it.

The Miata’s history begins back in 1976 with a writer for Motor Trend named Bob Hall, who was an expert on Japanese cars, and also was fluent in Japanese. During a meeting with the heads of Mazda Research and Development, Hall was asked what kind of car Mazda should make in its future. He answered :

“I babbled, how the simple, bugs-in-the-teeth, wind-in-the-hair, classically-British sports car doesn’t exist any more. I told Mr. Yamamoto that somebody should build one, an inexpensive roadster.”

In 1981, Hall moved to a product planning position with Mazda US and met Kenichi Yamamoto, now chairman of Mazda Motors, who remembered their conversation about a roadster and in 1982 gave Hall the go-ahead to research the idea further. At this time Hall hired designer Mark Jordan to join the newly formed Mazda design studio in Southern California. There, Hall and Jordan collaborated on the parameters of the initial image, proportion and visualization of the “light-weight sports” concept. In 1983, the idea turned concept was approved under the “Offline 55” program, an internal Mazda initiative that sought to change the way new models were developed. Thus, under head of project Masakatsu, the concept development was turned into a competition between the Mazda design teams in Tokyo and California.

Next time we will get into the competition of the Mazda Roadster. Stay tuned for the next chapter..

Mazda2 Turbo Concept

Yes, its been a little while since this was originally introduced, but we just can’t get enough of it. The Mazda2 Turbo Concept is the generation of Mazda2 that we have been waiting for. Its original introduction at the SEMA 2011 auto show awed many, but yet it still has yet to see production.

The Mazda2 Turbo is exactly what the Mazda mini car needs, a little more power. Boosted with a 2.3 Liter Turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the small hatch is packed with 263 horsepower and 280 Lb-Ft. of Torque. Those are number usually seen by the Mazda3 Speed, and more than enough to bring even the toughest enthusiasts a smile.  Mazda also reminds us that this vehicle wears the company’s largest forced-induction four-cylinder engine in its smallest vehicle platform. Finally the Zoom-Zoom is brought back to life.

The Mazda2 Turbo Concept rocks a set of Brembo brakes to bring the whole party to a stop in a hurry, and the suspension has received its fair share of attention as well. HR coilovers, Corksport sway bars front and rear and Yokohama rubber all help keep the tiny hatch glued to the track.

There is still no word whether or not Mazda will finally bring this concept to light, but it would be too out of the stretch for them to introduce a Mazda2 Speed. All we can do is sit and hope. I know I want it.

 

2014 Mazda6 production begins

Mazda has officially kicked off production of the 2014 Mazda6 at its Hofu No. 2 plant in Japan’s Yamaguchi prefecture. The car in the photo above is a European-spec Mazda6 wagon, equipped with the automaker’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline inline-four, and it’s the first undisguised look we have at the rakish estate.

The 2014 Mazda6 will be seen for the first time at the Moscow Motor Show in August, and the rest of the world will get their first glimpse at market-specific models during September’s Paris Motor Show festivities. The third-generation Mazda6 will go on sale in Europe and Japan before the end of the year, while North American cars will start hitting dealerships sometime in early 2013.

Mazda plans to produce approximately 120,000 units of the Mazda6 annually at Hofu. 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Mazda6 production there, with the original car (the official 626 replacement) first rolling off the line in 2002.

To review, Mazda will offer the 2014 Mazda6 with its Skyactiv-D diesel engine in other markets (and possibly the U.S.), and the car will be the first to use the automaker’s new i-ELOOP regenerative braking technology.