The 2020 Mazda3 rides on a brand-new architecture, features newly designed powertrains and is equipped with some of the newest technology around. It truly is an all-new car, but how have engineers managed to deliver a high-quality, efficient vehicle at a mass-market price?
Speaking through a translator, Kouta Beppu, program manager of this nameplate said, “With the all-new Mazda3, it is really [an] all-new developed car,” one that shares precious little with other models the company has built.
Completely redesigning every aspect of a vehicle takes Scrooge McDuck sums of money, enough cash to swim in, yet Mazda, a comparatively tiny automaker, has managed to achieve this ambitious goal thanks largely to the clever allocation of available resources. Beppu explained, “One way of doing it is what we’ve always called the bundled planning, meaning that all the successive new models, which will come after Mazda3, we will try to share a lot of the development resources and efforts in terms of having an architecture that’s common that we can deploy across the successive models.”
In essence, engineers have built a brand-new vehicle foundation, one that will underpin large portions of Mazda’s future product portfolio. This is one way of keeping costs down: cutting a really big check up front rather than paying at different intervals down the line when it’s time to re-engineer a different nameplate.
“And then the second point is that we try to keep all the standards that we employed for the production lines as same as we can for the previous vehicles,” said Beppu. “What we mean is that, for example, if you’re on the assembly line for the body, tires, and engines, we want to make all the locators exactly the same.” This seems like a relatively simple aspect of vehicle manufacturing to remain cognizant of, but doing so can save big bucks.
But there’s more to Mazda’s product-development magic than merely careful planning and streamlined manufacturing. “And another thing, which is really important for us [is] to have that close relationship with our suppliers,” Beppu said. According to him, the normal interaction between an automaker and a parts supplier is straightforward: the OEM provides engineering specifications and the third-party firm builds components to those conditions.
“But for us, even though we do create the drawings, we will get together with the suppliers at the drawing stage so that we can [collaborate],” explained Beppu, something that reduces the number of prototype parts required and streamlines the entire car-making process.
Another product-development advantage Mazda might have over rival OEMs is the spirit that drives its employees. “I really feel in comparison to our peers, maybe even the competitors around the world, the Mazda engineers are a group of engineers who above everything else really like cars more than anybody else,” said Beppu. He also noted that Mazda engineers have a lot more contact with their customer base than engineers at rival companies, something that allows them to really get a feel for what drivers are looking for in their vehicles.
The 2020 Mazda3 looks to be a groundbreaking compact car. Make sure to favorite AutoGuide.com in your web browser of choice so you can stay up to date on the latest stories about this all-new vehicle.
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