Before Mazda solidified its deal to buy up a 20 percent stake in Suzuki earlier this week, it was considering adding a different Japanese automaker to its lineup. A report in Automobile magazine dissects the decision by VW and why it eventually didn’t go with Mazda, which is now almost completely independent of Ford.
Despite being an attractive, performance-oriented brand, Mazda has a lot of overlapping product with Volkswagen and has very little experience in the small car and mini-car market - something that Suzuki most certainly does. Suzuki also has impressive penetration in emerging markets like India.
In addition, Mazda isn’t the greenest of automakers as the brand’s focus on performance has often resulted in lower than average fuel economy ratings – especially on important high-volume cars like the Mazda3. It also only recently announced a program to invest in hybrids, putting it several years behind much of the industry.
Mazda has been in search of a new partner ever since Ford sold off 22 percent of its stake in the company earlier this year, reducing its share of the Japanese automaker to just 11 percent. Just this week Ford president Mark Fields made Mazda’s situation all the more urgent, announcing that from now on the two automakers would develop platforms independently. This is a huge issue for Mazda as vehicles like the Mazda3, CX-7 and CX-9 are based on Ford products.
Mazda hasn’t officially made any comment in regards to finding a new partner in the auto industry, but some analysts have suggested it will need to do so in order to survive.