Archive for September, 2009

September 17, 2009

The Mazda 2 sedan was first unveiled at the 2007 Guangzhou Motor Show

The story of Mazda Motor Corporation is one outside of convention – keeping
its unique identity, and like the city of Hiroshima where it is based, one
of rebirth and positive human spirit.
To understand what makes Mazda tick, journalists from Malaysia, Indonesia
and Thailand were invited to attend a brand forum held at its headquarters
in Hiroshima recently.
Also journalists were given a preview of the facelifted version of the Mazda
2 hatchback and sedan.

Mazda 2

Launched in 2007, the third generation Mazda 2 has been sold in over 70
countries worldwide.

“To date, the Mazda 2 has garnered a total of 51 awards from around the
world, including the coveted World Car of the Year Title in 2008,” says
Ryoichi Kishimoto, programme manager of the Mazda 2.
The facelifted Mazda 2 hatchback and sedan will be assembled in the
AutoAlliance Co Ltd plant in Rayong, Thailand for the South East Asian
The new Mazda 2 changes is mostly cosmetic, adopting the bolder, new
‘smiley’ family face which can be seen on the new Mazda 3 and facelifted
RX-8 and MX-5.

The sedan variant would only be made available to the South East Asian
market as the hatchback is already proving popular in existing markets such
as Japan and Europe.
“The new corporate face of Mazda cars are designed to be better in
pedestrian as well as occupant crash safety performance,” says Akira
Tamatani, chief designer of the Mazda 2.
“These recommendations were based on data from our crash test experts,” he

There is no Euro NCAP rating for crash safety for the Mazda 2 as of yet.
“It took us 19 months to develop the sedan variant from the hatchback,” says
“We wanted the Mazda 2 to compete in the South East Asian region where it is
a sedan driven market.”
The two units unveiled were still pre-production models, with production of
both the facelift hatchback and sedan starting in Thailand in October.
Nakamine says that the plant in Thailand has a production capacity of
120,000 trucks and 100,000 cars annually.
Besides assembling Mazda pick-up trucks and the Mazda 2, the plant has also
been equipped to produce the Ford Fiesta.

“We plan to launch the sedan later this year,” says Shahidin Sahamid,
marketing manager of Bermaz Motor Sdn Bhd, sole importer and distributor of
Mazda cars in Malaysia.
“However Mazda has expressed its desire for the sedan to be launched
alongside with the facelifted hatchback when it comes out early next year.
So tentatively we are looking at a first quarter of 2010 launch.”
According to Shahidin, the pricing and specifications for the Mazda 2 are
yet to be confirmed.
He hints that the Mazda 2 will be competitively priced for the B-segment,
with the hatchback commanding a slightly higher premium.


The Zoom-zoom theme

September 17, 2009

Zoom-Zoom theme

It was said that the Mazda MX-5 is the car that shouldn’t have been made by
a Japanese car maker. But it became one of the best selling sports cars in
The MX-5 is renowned for its purity in the joy of driving and it’s the one
car in the Mazda range which epitomises the ‘Zoom-Zoom’ theme

Developed from Mazda’s brand DNA of making stylish, insightful and spirited
cars, the theme ‘Zoom-Zoom’ was adopted in 2001.
“Far from being a childish expression, Zoom-Zoom can be best described as
the joy of motion first felt in one’s childhood,” says Abel.
“It connects on an emotional level and we recognise it as an essential human
emotion. This theme is essentially the emotion of motion and it is an idea
that Mazda values.”
The brand transformation started in 2002 with the first generation of
‘Zoom-Zoom’ products, the Mazda 6.
Mazda claims that 12 out of the 14 top markets where the ‘Zoom-Zoom’ theme
is used, it is recognised as the top three in market awareness.
Abel admits that Mazda will be an alternative to mainstream brands and
acknowledges that its cars may not be for everybody.

“But I like to think that it is for a special few who really love driving,
who are young at heart, passionate and progressive,” he says.
Abel believes that while Mazda is aware of the demand for an environmental
friendly solution, it isn’t going to change its brand DNA.
“Mazda will still continue to bring that same spirit of innovation to take
up the challenge of fuel efficient solutions and sustainable technologies,”
he says.
Technologies such as its unique engine start-stop technology known as
‘iStop’, Aqua-tech paint, the development of carbon neutral bioplastics and
a fleet of hydrogen power rotary engine cars are some of the steps Mazda is
taking towards green solutions.

“Mazda isn’t avoiding the issue, we aim to increase the fuel efficiency of
our cars by 30 per cent by 2015, with environmentally friendly vehicles
throughout the range,” says Nakamine. “We will be addressing our
environmental strategy during the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show and will be
focusing our research and development into hybrid technologies and fuel
efficient technologies. We are currently working on new power trains and one
which will be ready by 2011.”

Mazda presence in Malaysia

The history of Mazda cars in Malaysia can be traced back to the rear-engine
P600 Carol from 1963.
The year 1967 heralded the introduction of the beautiful Bertone styled 1500
sedan and the Mazda 1000 sedan.
Mazda was then the alternative brand but in 1972, Mazda was accepted as the
Japanese mainstream brand. Years before the Toyota Corolla and the Honda
Civic began fighting for its top spot in car sales, the Mazda 1000 emerged
as the top seller that year for the category of cars below 1,000cc in
Perhaps Mazda’s signature has always been the application of the Wankel
Rotary engine, with the introduction of the R100 coupes powered by a 982cc
twin-rotor rotary engine in 1969.

Other models which found its way into Malaysia were the Capella RE,
otherwise known as the RX-2 in 1971 and RX-4 in 1973.
In 1973 Asia Motor Sdn Bhd, then importer and distributor of Mazda Cars in
Malaysia, was contracted to supply 73 Mazda 1300 station wagons to the
Ministry of Works and Telecommunications as service vehicles.
Also in 1973 the Mazda 808 sedan, successor to the popular 1000, was named
Sunday Mail Car of the Year by an overwhelming margin.
Asia Motor sold its 10,000th Mazda 808 in 1977, just as its 808 Coupes
charted a number of race victories the same year.
However, the Mazda franchise in Malaysia began its decline in the early
years of the 1980s.
Eventually, the Mazda franchise slipped from Asia Motor, which was beset by
family dispute over company ownership, going to Cycle and Carriage Bintang
Bhd in 1989.
Despite bringing in iconic models such as the 323, 626, Lantis, Mx-5 and
Fighter pick-up truck, the Mazda brand slipped into near anonymity in
Malaysia as it was overshadowed by the other Japanese brands.
After 18 years under Cycle and Carriage, the Mazda franchise was acquired by
Bermaz Motor Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the Berjaya Group.
Since then, Bermaz has been on a marketing blitz with the introducion of
four models – the Mazda 5, 6, CX-9 and MX-5 that same year.
In 2009 Bermaz introduced another two, the second generation RX-8 and Mazda

Like the Mazda 808 before it, the second generation Mazda 6 was picked as
the New Straits Times-Maybank Car of the Year in 2008.
Meanwhile, Mazda’s flagship, the CX-9, also picked up the Premium SUV of the
Year award that very same year.
With the vacant position for a B-segment competitor to be introduced next
year, Mazda looks set for a new renaissance in Malaysia under the
stewardship of Bermaz Motors with the soon to come Mazda 2.

History Of Mazda

September 17, 2009

History of Mazda

“It is important to know and understand Mazda, where it came from and what
it is,” says Yuji Nakamine, managing executive office and general manager of
overseas sales division for Mazda Motor Corporation.
Founded by Jujiro Matsuda, a local of Hiroshima, he was the son of a
fisherman but grew up to become an inventor and entrepreneur.

He took over a local manufacturer known as Toyo Cork Kogyo Co Ltd in 1921,
before turning it into a manufacturer of motor vehicles 10 years later.
Then named Toyo Kogyo Co Ltd, the company went on to produce some of the
most innovative and unique cars of its time.
Although every model sold bore the name Mazda, the Toyo Kogyo Company didn’t
adopt the name till 1984.
Mazda is considered to be the commercially successful manufacturer of the
Wankel rotary engine, beginning with the Cosmo Sport of 1967 and the RX
series of cars.

However, Mazda’s focus on developing its rotary engines became one of the
main causes of Mazda’s downfall during the advent of the 1973 oil crisis.
Even so, Mazda persisted and kept to its belief in the rotary engine.
In 1991, it became the first and only Japanese car manufacturer to win the
Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race, as well as the only victory in Le Mans
history to be taken by a non-piston engine car.
In 1979, Mazda began a partnership with the American Ford Motor Company when
Ford took a seven per cent financial stake in Mazda.
Affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Mazda was acquired by Ford with
a 33.9 per cent stake.
However, the acquisition turned out beneficial for both parties as Mazda and
Ford were able to save money on development costs through technology

The Hiroshima automobile manufacturer managed to emerge independent last
year as Ford sold 20 per cent of its stake in Mazda, with the latter party
buying off another 6.8 per cent shortly after.
“Mazda is a brand whose history is defined by examples of daring to be
different, innovative and persistent. In fact, history has shown that Mazda
succeeds when it dares to be different,” says John Abel, general manager of
Mazda’s global brand management department.
“By looking back at its history we were able to draw its brand DNA from that
and develop Mazda’s ‘Zoom-Zoom’ theme.”