Official: Mazda reports strong Skyactiv sales, plans to boost output 25%

Filed under: Budget, China, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Mazda

Skyactiv Technology logo

Mazda is set to expand production of its Skyactiv engines after critical and commercial acclaim for the fuel-sipping powerplants. The Japanese manufacturer has a number of plans in the works to bump up production, with the first being a 25-percent increase in output from its Hiroshima, Japan engine facility.

Besides adding a new line, Mazda will modify the line that built MZR engines, a family of mills that includes the 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Mazdaspeed3 and the 2.0-liter found in the MX-5 Miata. The bump in production is just part of Mazda’s goal of selling 1.7 million vehicles globally by 2016, with 80 percent of those vehicles expected to wear a Skyactiv badge.

Mazda also builds Skyactiv engines at a joint-venture facility with Ford, in Changan, China, while a Mexican facility will go online by March of 2014. Skyactiv engines currently power the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5.

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Mazda reports strong Skyactiv sales, plans to boost output 25% originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mazda and Clemson collaborate on Deep Orange 3 concept

Filed under: Concept Cars, Hybrid, Wagon, Technology, Mazda, Design/Style

Mazda Clemson Deep Orange 3 Concept Car

There are school projects, and then there’s the Mazda Deep Orange 3 Concept Car, a one-off built by Clemson University automotive engineering students and designed by Frederick Naaman from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Clemson students unveiled the chassis at the 2012 SEMA show in Las Vegas, although this is the first showing of the car fully clothed.

Sporting a unique hybrid powertrain that can automatically switch between front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive. A gas-powered engine handles the fronts, while the rears are powered by an electric motor and a battery pack. The Deep Orange 3 also has an unusual three-plus-three layout, making it a much cooler version of your parent’s old Vista Cruiser. The exterior sheetmetal clearly follows Mazda’s established design language, and looks like it could easily pass for a five-door version of the Shinari Concept. It really is a great looking vehicle.

The Deep Orange 3 was part of Clemson’s graduate-level auto engineering program, and is a regular partnership between the east coast school and the Pasadena-based design college’s students. Clemson, Art Center and Mazda will be showing the Deep Orange 3 at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, MI, from August 5 to August 8. Click through for a press release from Clemson University.

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Mazda and Clemson collaborate on Deep Orange 3 concept originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 07 Aug 2013 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorsports: Mazda Skyactiv-D racer first diesel to run at Indy in 60 years

Filed under: Motorsports, Sedan, Mazda, Diesel, Racing

While it may not be touting the old “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” axiom we all know and love, Mazda recognizes that racing can only improve its cars. And so it’s no surprise that the Japanese automaker is testing and refining its Skyactiv-D diesel engine by sending it out on various race tracks around the country – notably being the first diesel ever to compete at Daytona and the first to notch a Grand Am win at Road Atlanta.

Next up? Indy. It has been over 60 years since a diesel-powered machine ran at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Cummins-powered racer that competed in the 1952 Indy 500 with a 6.6-liter inline-six-cylinder oil-burner was a fast and brutal machine that set a new lap record in qualifying leading up to the race. Though that car was withdrawn with turbocharger failure 71 laps in, its diesel powerplant left an indelible impression on the racing community, and that’s something Mazda hopes to accomplish once again.

Mazda says that the diesel engine in its race car is pretty darn close to stock – 51 percent stock by parts count, and 63 percent stock by weight – which means the way it performs in competition is at least a somewhat meaningful way to the stock engine’s durability in the real world. Check out the image of the Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racer posing alongside the 1952 Cummins above (click to enlarge) and feel free to peruse the press release below for the rest of the details.

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Mazda Skyactiv-D racer first diesel to run at Indy in 60 years originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Mazda on sales upswing in Europe but won’t build there

Filed under: Europe, Plants/Manufacturing, Mazda, Earnings/Financials

Auto sales in Europe have been a tricky proposition for some years, but Mazda has seen some success on the backs of the CX-5 and new Mazda6. According to a report form Automotive News Europe, though, that doesn’t mean we should be looking for the Japanese manufacturer to set up production operations there.

Mazda’s European CEO, Jeff Guyton, explained to AN that “Our intention is to have manufacturing scale. That gives you scale economy and quality through repeatability.” In other words, a big honking plant in one part of the world is preferable to a half dozen small factories building the same vehicles.

European sales for Mazda are up 5.4 percent in the first half of 2013, with 74,000 units sold. That kicked the Zoom-Zoom brand’s market share up from one to 1.2 percent. Small gains, but gains nonetheless. According to Guyton, Mazda would need to sell 200,000 units of just one model in Europe for local production to make sense. Mazda’s best European year saw 320,000 units sold across the entire range.

Mazda on sales upswing in Europe but won’t build there originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Jul 2013 17:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mazda announces live-streaming vehicle intro on Xbox

Filed under: Mazda, Toys/Games

XBox logo

In April, Mazda introduced a marketing campaign titled “Game Changers” to showcase how certain people have made significant impacts in their respective sports, and now it’s the Japanese automaker that is changing the game by creating an innovative way to launch a new product. Mazda is teaming up with Xbox to offer a first-of-its-kind live-streaming global debut of a new product. Mazda didn’t say which model will be debuted, but our guess is that it will be the next-generation Mazda3.

The actual reveal will take place at 9 pm on June 26 during a live concert from the band Metric in New York City, but there will be other live events preceding the concert in Melbourne, St. Petersburg, Istanbul and London. Mazda will be promoting the event on social media using the hashtag #GameChanger, and there is also a contest on Xbox where one winner will receive $2,500 to attend a music event of their choice. Scroll down for the full details of the contest and vehicle debut event.

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Mazda announces live-streaming vehicle intro on Xbox originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 19 Jun 2013 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: Mazda RX-9 to borrow hybrid tech from Toyota

Filed under: Coupe, Hybrid, Performance, Mazda, Rumormill

Mazda Kabura Concept

2006 Mazda Kabura Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

The rotary rumormill continues to spin about as fast as a Renesis engine at redline (that’s 9,000 rpm, for those keeping track). Might the next rotary-powered RX from Mazda be a hybrid? It very well may, if you believe a report from Motor Trend.

Lending credence to the story is a 2010 agreement signed between Mazda and Toyota that would have the Zoom-Zoom company licensing the technology that makes the Prius tick. At the time, Mazda indicated that its first hybrid using Toyota technology would hit the market in 2013. Will it be in the form of an RX-9?

Motor Trend reports that the successor to the RX-8 will eschew reverse-opening rear doors for a standard coupe format with an architecture based on the platform of the next-gen Mazda MX-5. If true, we may be talking about the world’s first real rear-wheel-drive hybrid sportscar for the mass market.

It’s worth noting that a hybrid powertrain may very well cure what has forever ailed the rotary engine: low torque (electric motors make gobs of the stuff at low rpm) and high fuel consumption. We like the idea of Mazda forging forward with the rotary engine, especially one that’s tuned to make a ton of horsepower at stratospheric spinning speeds like a proper rotary should.

One potential weakness, though, is that Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology uses a complicated continuously variable automatic transmission, and those have typically failed to provide the excitement of a proper row-for-yourself manual gearbox, or even a dual-clutch. In any case, we’re content to adopt a wait-and-see attitude on this latest rumor.

Mazda RX-9 to borrow hybrid tech from Toyota originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 24 May 2011 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ferrari FF makes North American debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Filed under: Performance, Hatchback, Ferrari

Ferrari FF

Ferrari FF North American Debut – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ferrari’s absence at North American auto shows the past few years has meant that its newer vehicles have made their debuts at some less conventional venues. Last year, the 458 Italia’s first U.S. appearance was at the Ferrari Challenge event at Miller Motorsports Park. This weekend, the Ferrari FF received a private showing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the Ferrari Racing Days.

In addition to the new Ferrari four-seater itself, the display showcased the numerous interior options and a full set of matching luggage. The car on hand was a European version, but retail sales of the U.S.-spec FF should begin at either the end of October or the beginning of November of this year. Only 40 cars will be available for the rest of 2011. After that, Ferrari plans on selling approximately 200 cars yearly to American buyers.

You can see our photos of the Ferrari FF at Laguna Seca in the gallery below. Check back this week for more coverage of the Ferrari Racing Days.

Ferrari FF makes North American debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 22 May 2011 09:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda 787B restored, returning to Le Mans for 20th anniversary of win

Filed under: Motorsports, Performance, Mazda

Mazda 787B restored and returning to Le Mans

Mazda 787B restored and returning to Le Mans – Click above for high-res image gallery

In 1991, Mazda became the first and to this day only Japanese automaker to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans using the 787B you see above. It was also the first and only rotary-powered car to ever win the grueling French endurance race.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of that Le Mans win, and to celebrate that victory, Mazda has restored the original winning 787B and been invited by the event organizers to drive it on the Circuit de la Sarth just a few hours before this year’s 79th running of the race.

The 787B is powered by a four-rotor rotary engine producing 700 horsepower, though it was said to be capable of a maximum power output of 900 hp. Even after 20 years, it could probably keep up with today’s crop of Le Mans prototype cars.

We don’t know yet who will be driving the 787B on June 11, but the man who drove the car across the finish line 20 years earlier, Johnny Herbert, will be on hand, and we’re sure he’d be happy to help out if asked.

Check out the amazing gallery of the Mazda team testing the 787B after its recent restoration, and follow the jump for two amazing audio clips of its engine.

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Mazda 787B restored, returning to Le Mans for 20th anniversary of win originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 20 May 2011 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda CX-5 caught with less camo

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Spy Photos, Crossover, Mazda

Mazda CX-5 spy shots

Mazda CX-5 spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mazda is quickly readying its new CX-5 small crossover, previewed by the shapely Minagi concept that bowed at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The test mule you see here still uses a lot of bits from the larger CX-7, but as more of the camouflage comes off, we can start to see the Mazda’s shapely new front end, inspired not only by the Minagi, but by the automaker’s Shinari design concept from 2010.

When it enters production, the CX-5 will replace the Tribute CUV in Mazda’s lineup. The Tribute is simply a rebadged version of the Ford Escape, and since the Blue Oval is prepping its new Vertrek-based global crossover to replace the Escape (and Kuga overseas), the Tribute will simply go the way of the dodo.

Look for the production version of the CX-5 to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Gallery: Mazda CX-5: Spy Shots

Mazda CX-5: Spy ShotsMazda CX-5: Spy ShotsMazda CX-5: Spy ShotsMazda CX-5: Spy ShotsMazda CX-5: Spy Shots

[Sources: KGP Photography, Kicking Tires]

Mazda CX-5 caught with less camo originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 29 Apr 2011 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New York 2011: Mazda’s refreshed 2012 Mazda3 looks to the sky

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Sedan, Hatchback, Mazda

2012 Mazda3 with SkyActiv

2012 Mazda3 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mazda is betting big on its SkyActiv engine technology, and the first North American vehicle to carry the new motor is the 2012 Mazda3. Makes sense, since one out of every three Mazda vehicles sold around the globe wears a “3” on the back. Launching with the 2012 Mazda3 this fall, SkyActiv engines and transmissions will then wind-up in the upcoming CX-5 by next spring, and a year later we’ll get a diesel variant of the efficient engine.

mazda skyactiv-g engineFirst up, however, is the SkyActiv-G gasoline-burner, which is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The directly injected unit is rated at 40 miles per gallon on the highway in the Mazda3, and produces 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 148 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. That’s a horsepower increase of five percent and torque bump of 10 percent, all in a package that’s 4.4 pounds lighter than the currently available standard 2.0-liter.

The SkyActiv-equipped 2012 Mazda3 is offered with a choice between two transmissions: a six-speed manual or automatic, both of which are also part of the SkyActiv family. SkyActiv-Drive is the automatic of the group, and helps the Mazda3 achieve a range of 540 miles. While the auto is the transmission of choice for 40 mpg drives, the SkyActiv-MT also allows for efficient motoring. When equipped with the manual, the fuel economy rating dips to 39 mpg on the highway.

SkyActiv-G engines will be offered under the hood of both the sedan and hatchback versions of the Mazda3. Both have also received a minor exterior refresh, which comes in the form of a revised front fascia. SkyActiv-equipped models can also be distinguished by some subtle blue headlamp trim and SkyActiv badging.

See the updates for yourself in the galleries below, and be sure to head past the jump to learn more about the 2012 Mazda3 and its SkyActiv technology.

Gallery: 2012 Mazda3: New York 2011

2012 Mazda3: New York 20112012 Mazda3: New York 20112012 Mazda3: New York 20112012 Mazda3: New York 2011

Gallery: 2012 Mazda3

Live photos copyright (C)2011 Jeff Glucker/AOL

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New York 2011: Mazda’s refreshed 2012 Mazda3 looks to the sky originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Apr 2011 14:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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