• Oct 18, 2010

2011 Mazda BT-50 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Any casual observer of the automotive industry today could tell you that American automakers have been shedding entangled divisions like a dog in the springtime. While Chrysler teamed up with Fiat, General Motors got rid of Hummer, Saab, Saturn and Pontiac, and over the past few years, Ford has all but entirely eliminated its overseas properties, selling Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo to the highest bidders. So what's next? According to emerging reports, Mazda looks to be up on the butcher block in Dearborn.

As it is, Ford's current stake in Mazda is not anywhere as big as it was in JLR, AML or Volvo. But even its modest 11 percent interest in the Japanese automaker is set to drop to just a few lingering shares according to Reuters.

Word of the impending split has sent Mazda shares falling, but the outlook for the Zoom-Zoom carmaker could be a lot better going forward. Although Mazda may need a new partner at some point in the future in order to remain competitive in a rapidly centralizing industry, the Japanese automaker could wait it out for a while as an independent, capitalizing on its own technologies while fending off takeover bids from overseas.

From a product lineup standpoint, models developed using Ford components and technologies – like just-introduced Ford Ranger-based BT-50 compact pickup truck pictured above – will likely continue until they've outlived their life-cycles (if not long thereafter), but the future looks to be wide-open for new vehicles after that.

[Source: Reuters]


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  • 35 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Was this a rumor?
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's about focus and priorities. Mullaly and team have a laser like focus for getting the job done. Ford doesn't need to spend their Thursday morning meeting talking about Mazda any more than they need to be talking about Mercury. They're on a mission now, and it's about share and profitability now until they've paid their debt down and created a strong balance sheet. It's business plain and simple, and Ford should be commended for keeping their eye on the prize - world class products that customers want and value!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly. Mullaly is focusing Ford on Ford. It doesn't help Ford to spend resources on Mazda, which in many segments competes with Ford.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No problem. VW will buy Mazda to add to its collections of brands in its goal to dominate the worldwide auto market. Soon we will have one car as the basis for one Mazda/VW/Skoda/SEAT/Audi/Suzuki/Porsche
      • 4 Years Ago
      Everyone cried when Ford divested Aston Martin, and the wailing continued when Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo were jettisoned and the screaming continued when Mercury was axed....now Mazda will be released and the sobs of "what have you done to my Blue Oval" continue, but......Ford is on a roll and is making cars people want to buy and they are making profits while doing so.

      I think Mr. Mulally can be given some latitude here while we all wait for Lincoln to rise from the ashes of neglect.....go get 'em Ford.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wonder whether Toyota will buy some stake in Mazda like they did with Subaru after GM sold out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was just thinking that Mazda and Subaru should team up.

        Mazda has very good chassis and suspension credibility, and some decent styling, if they would get rid of that daft grin.

        Subaru has very nice boxer engines and drivetrain tech.

        Combine them a bit, and Subaru gets better styling and handling dynamics. Mazda gets a new drivetrain tech partner, with Subaru, and probably Toyota, as well... Mazda remains 2WD, and Subaru remains AWD, as a point of differentiation.

        Maybe I could park a cooperative effort in my driveway, between my Legacy and Miata.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BoxerFanatic - YES.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I hope it isn't Toyota....

        Hyundai or Honda would be better.
      msnoellenoelle
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well technically Auto Alliances are joint ventures, the plants in Michigan and Thailand are both jointly and equally owned by Ford and Mazda. The new four cylinders going in the new Focus are still Mazda designed, the SKY-G engines. So since Ford are using those, Mazda still should be able to use the V6s. Since the introduction of the Shinari Concept, it was a sign at Ford divesting in Mazda, Mazda is going to use the platform underneath the Shinari for its mid-sized car instead of Ford. Mazda was given the opportunity to use the Mondeo's platform but declined. It's probably a mutual thing parting ways.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ahhh the 2011 Mazda BT 50, another fine example of a truck we wont be driving here in America.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't understand why they would do this, and I don't like it a bit. Ford has been doing well for itself recently by shedding the lower volume Euro brands and getting rid of the completely underwhelming Mercury, but Mazda is a wholly profitable, good company. Hell, if it weren't for Mazdas clever engineering Ford wouldn't even be where it is right now. Together the two companies have created very good, popular, profitable cars in recent history and before. Ford needs modern, fun, exciting cars, and Mazda needs somebody to sell it to so they can make the money to come up with it in the first place.

      I don't know the finances behind it all, but by looking at what I see on the street, I'd suggest that Ford needs Mazda, Mazda needs Ford, but I feel Ford needs them a lot more than they need Ford. That's why I think this is an awful decision.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Gloria:

        Yep. Back in the 80s, Mazda was known for making some quirky, sporty cars. The 323GT/GTX and 626GT were fun and sporty. Sometime in the 90s, Mazda lost their way and decided they should go head to head with the likes of Honda and Toyota in the mainstream. (I do have to say the first gen Protege was fun to drive, though) They paid for this by almost going under. With Ford's help, they came back from the brink with the 3 and 6. I just hope they aren't losing their way again with the likes of the supersized 6. I also hope they are well enough now to stand on their own.

        @making11s

        I realize you are trolling, but I will just say this. My 2004 6s with the V6 and manual was the most fun I have ever had driving a FWD car. And the only reason I didn't have a Mazdaspeed 6 was because I couldn't afford it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I see, so Ford afforded Mazda the tools to get back on its feet again. I suppose now that Ford has decided to bring some of its European offerings over here as Fords, it doesn't make sense to also sell them as Mazdas, since now the overlapping cars will have similar characteristics. Now that I see I've had it backwards it makes sense as a business decision for Ford.

        If Mazda isn't profitable enough on its own they may have to downsize and move further toward the sporty side of mainstream. Hopefully they'll find a way to succeed because I've fallen in love with the company in recent years, now owning one. They're so not-boring, it's just great.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, you have it backwards. If it wasn't for Ford, Mazda would have ceased to exist.

        They were an out of date, bit player in the world markets. They did not have the money to develop a full product line, nor, to update their product line on a regular basis. They could not develop new chassis/platforms on their own, due to the cost, and also could not develop their own V6.

        Fords majority ownership, and platform/engine sharing, plus engineering might, allowed them to get to where they are today.

        For those lamenting the fact that all Ford cars are just rebadged Mazdas............... do some actual research into where the origins of those platforms are. You will find all paths lead to Ford Europe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      All I can say is that the Fiesta and 2012 Focus are out of the Mazda relationship and they look wonderful cars.

      Maybe it depends on who-is-helping-who more. Ford is just pumping out terrific product and Mazda is maybe piggybacking ??? Or is Ford fearful of Japan tapping into their product knowledge (with auto companies being much more an extenstion of the government then here -- people forget Japan is the world`s only totalitarian government system).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Like Pavlov's dogs a Sergio begins to drool .
      • 4 Years Ago

      We are hooked on diesels. Tell us if Mazda is going in that direction.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think that it would be a "win win" for both companies.

      Ford would get the needed capital.

      Mazda would not be as constrained in developing platforms/models that might directly compete with "global Ford" offereings.

      I think that Ford has held Mazda "at bay" from going-ahead with some very provocative models that have shown up as car-show prototypes.

      The Mazda 2 and the little Ford equivalent are being compared in many magazines, and invaribly, the Ford offering seems to have the most interest as it has more h.p. and handling offerings.

      Yes, I think Ford has been an "anchor" to Mazda for the last few years. It has been dictating or restraining Mazda from going ahead with platform offerings that are mutually shared that would put Ford's offering/equivalent to shame.
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