• Feb 6, 2007
We recently lamented Mazda's decision not to bring their new MPV minivan to the States. Mazda helped explain the decision by saying that minivan marketing practices put too much downward pressure on prices and therefore limit profits for automakers. We think Mazda could reverse that trend by doing what we called for years ago: adding some "Zoom-Zoom" to the segment with a better handling, lighter-on-its-feet shuttle like the new MPV. Mazda has instead decided to focus on crossovers, much like every other manufacturer with the exception of Chrysler. Apparently SUV/CUV buyers will still accept the premium pricing that nets higher profitability for the automakers. There may be a fly in that ointment, however.

Story continues after the jump.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req]

Mazda dealers are already complaining because their newest CUV, the CX-9, is being debuted with a huge national ad campaign to coincide with a regional program (a first for Mazda). The rollout will see a special lease deal of $349 a month for 39 months with $2,000 down. While it will probably help Mazda make a name for itself with this attractive Ford Edge derivative, dealers are questioning the decision.

Some think Mazda's just fine playing the niche role and maximizing profit on a smaller number of vehicles sold. Slow and steady wins the race, as the story goes. They think Mazda should follow the lead of Honda, Toyota and Nissan and establish their perceived value levels early on. They don't want to be seen as "the cheap-deal brand anymore." A group of California dealers, in particular, is trying to keep the regional outlets from over-promoting the offer and cheapening the brand. They don't think there's a need to "Zoom-Zoom" to a high sales figure right off the bat.

While getting into one of these nifty new three-row CUVs at a lower monthly payment sounds great to us, we understand the thinking and agree that it can probably sell quite well without the incentives. We'll keep you posted on how it shakes out.


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  • 15 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'll be happy to not care about what the dealer thinks. If only I could test drive cars without the dealer monkey and then buy off the internet.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hey Gardiner Westbound, News Flash: Ford owns Mazda. In fact they have for quite some time now. Mazda's been using all kinds of parts from Ford for a long time. In fact, the reason Mazda is once again a profitable company with good a quality record is because of Ford. time to wake up and realize that Ford's quality ratings are as good if not better than Honda's. Don't believe me, go check out JD Power's website.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Indeed it was. But Volvo was responsible for developing the structure (hence the unusual solidity and high crash-test scores), Ford developed the suspension design. and Mazda tuned it for the 3.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Someone said their interest went to zero because of the Ford units in it. Well, the engine is proving to be a huge success, and the 6 speed automatic is proving popular as well in GM products. This makes this a viable product with the two combined, not to mention Lincoln showed what you can do with a turbo or two combined with the 3.5 liter engine.
      Bryan
      • 7 Years Ago
      I will clear everything up for everyone. First lets start with the Mazda 6 which Ford and Mazda co-devolped. From there, Ford took the basic architecture, stretched it and made the Fusion/Milan/Zephyr(MKZ). Meanwhile, Mazda just made the CX-7 off the original 6 platform. After that, Ford made the Edge/MKX from its stretched Fusion platform. Then Mazda further stretched the platform and created the CX-9. This is a very flexible architecture that Ford and Mazda both deserve props for. I recently saw the CX-9 at the Houston auto show. Very nice. The front doors have bigger door panels than my F150! The gauge lighting is awesome, it uses two different colors. All in all all of these vehicles seem to be doing pretty and I do not feel the CX-9 needs any special deals right out of the gate the vehicle will sell itself just as the Edge and MKX are.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Doug -

      Ford owns only 33.4% of Mazda, which is just .1% more than the minimum required for a controlling stake under Japanese law.

      Additionally, Ford has benefited from Mazda's expertise just as much--and some may argue more--than the other way around. Mazda's hot sellers and image leaders--the 5, 6, MX-5, RX-8, and CX-7--are pure Mazda designs. The 3 uses a platform developed by Volvo, not Ford USA. Mazda's Ford-sourced vehicles (the Tribute and B-Series) have been the weak spots of its lineup, intended to fill gaps in the product range.

      Ford USA, on the other hand, is relying on Mazda's 6 architecture to underpin some of its high-stakes, save-the-company Hail Marys: the Fusion/Milan/MKZ and Edge/MKX.

      I personally like some of Ford's other current vehicles, but get frustrated with the common misconception that "all Mazdas are Fords."
      • 7 Years Ago
      Last I heard the Pacifica was going to be dropped and the rear wheel drive replacement was also going to be dropped as too expensive
      • 7 Years Ago
      #8 - Newsflash for you. Ford does not own Mazda! They own 33.4% of Mazda. The majority of their products have been based on shared platforms like the Mazda6 - Edge, Fusion, CX9 and probably all of the future products. Also, Mazda developed the Tribute product and Ford's much more successful Escape (and others) used it as well. Are you stating the facts about Ford's qaulity ratings or just bashing Honda? I own a Honda and have several friends who own Fords. Honda kicks Ford's ass in quality, ride, reliability, and resale value. So get your facts straight or refrain from correcting others.


      • 7 Years Ago
      This isn't even an incentive. I don't see how a lease offer at full MSRP can be considered an incentive. All it is is an attractive, low payment on a gorgeous new crossover. Just like when the premium brands (Mercedes, Audi, BMW, etc.) show low lease payments with several thousand dollars down. Also, the vehicle is based on the Edge platform, stretched out to accomodate the 3rd row. It (the platform) was co-developed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The CX-9's transmission is sourced from Aisin (same supplier of the 8 speed transmission used in the 2007 LS460) and not the GM/Ford unit used in the Edge.
      Bryan
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh and to PJ..the mazda 3/euro Focus/S40 platform was a 3 way joint venture. Volvo did not create it on its own.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No Chrysler crossovers? I thought it was the Chrysler Pacifica that defined this segment...
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