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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The perpetually-grinning, happy-go-lucky Mazda 3 will be getting a facelift for 2012. But will it still be so happy?
A new version of the Mazda 3 is already giggling down Japanese streets as the Mazda Axela. Its US model will make it over as early as October, with both employing the same Skyactiv 2.0-liter direct-injection gasoline engine and six-speed automatic transmission—the first car to combine Mazda’s new six-speed with Skyactiv technology.
Skyactiv is blowing up at Mazda lately, in fact: the Mazda 2 already has such an engine in Japan, and the upcoming CX-5 will feature it when it’s introduced in Frankfurt next month. So the Mazda 3 does have something to smile about.
[Source: Inside Line]
Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is launching an all new pre-paid scheduled maintenance program, adding value to customers of new, used and certified pre-owned Mazda vehicle.
The Mazda Total Advantage Program for new, used and certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Owners program benefits customers and adds value to their purchase by lowering scheduled maintenance costs.
The MTA program is available in one-to-five year increments on both Schedule I and Schedule II maintenance plans for customers of 2007 model year vehicles and newer. This program will ensure customers are receiving the best care for their vehicles with a full-circle service inspection at each visit.
Along with other Japanese automakers, Mazda is predicting a drop in operating profit for 2011, due to a strengthening yen and supply disruptions, which continue to affect production output, following the March 11 earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.
However, the projected forecast in operating profit through March 2012 is slightly better than originally hoped, estimates place it at around some 20 billion yen ($248 million), versus original estimates of 5.6 billion yen predicted by industry analysts. Mazda has also forecast a net operating profit of 1 billion yen for this year, versus a net loss of some 60 billion yen in 2010.
Nevertheless, the Hiroshima based company is looking to diversify its manufacturing base to further increase profitability, with an eye on emerging markets as major centers for potential growth, including Central and South America.
To cater to market needs in this region, the company has announced that, in conjunction with Sumitomo Corporation, it will begin construction of a new assembly plant in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The plant will produce the Mazda2 and Mazda3 as well as a range of engines.
Once up and running, the plant will have a production capacity of some 140,000 cars annually and will employ approzimately 3,000 people; Mazda will own 70 percent of the venture, Sumitomo the remaining 30 percent.
In addition, both companies will also set up a joint sales venture in Brazil, in an effort to capitalize on that country’s fast growing auto market.
Mazda currently has two thirds of its total vehicle production based in Japan and the rising yen is making its products increasingly uncompetitive overseas (currently 80 percent of total production is exported) as well as eating into profits.
It is hoped that an additional assembly plant outside Japan will help reduce the problem (currently Mazda has three other production facilities outside the home country, in the US, China and Thailand, though all of those were set up as joint ventures with Ford Motor Company).
Upon announcement of the new Mexico factory, Mazda’s shares on the Nikkei (the Tokyo Stock Exchange), spiked some 1.6 percent, out performing the benchmark average, reaching 195 yen per share.
The ugly duckling/swan theme is an often used cliche in romantic comedies and other low-grade forms of entertainment, but we were caught of guard when Mazda ditched their Nagare design language and blossomed into a beautiful creature with the Shinari concept.
Nagare, if you remember, is the current design theme for Mazda that looks a lot like a mutated sea creature. The Shinari, on the other had, and the accompanying Kodo design language, looks like something from an expensive European manufacturer that costs many multiples of what a Mazda3 would.
The four-door coupe Shinari, seen in the video, is a promising start to a new era of design in Mazda, and we can’t wait to see how it will extend to its regular lineup
Hit the jump to see the official video
The Automotive Leasing Guide is what the auto industry uses to determine residual values for leased vehicles. It’s a pretty important guideline, and when the ALG speaks, people listen. So the ALG’s prediction of gasoline at $4.13 a gallon by 2013 has some pretty big ramifications for consumers and their vehicle choices.
Naturally, the ALG is predicting an increase in residuals for compact and hybrid cars. While compacts and hybrids should see a residual jump of nearly 10%, the big losers will be full-size SUVs, which should take a 7.4% hit in residual value. The same price fluctuations apply to wholesale values as well, with compacts and hybrids expected to bring 30% more at auction, while the same big trucks will go for 20% less.
Before anyone panics, let’s not forget that Canada has endured prices very close to $4/gallon for a few years now, and their vehicle makeup, while similar to the United States, skews more towards compact cars. While the best selling cars in America in 2009 were the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, Canada’s favorites were the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 respectively. Bet that Civic Hybrid is looking like a good buy now, isn’t it?
[Source: Autoblog Green]