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While unable to overtake its fellow Japanese, and larger, competitors like Honda, Toyota, and Nissan, Mazda has always had a solid place in the U.S. car market. Mazda came to the U.S. in 1970 and with its rotary or Wankel engines powering its cars, the automaker set itself apart from the other imports of the day. Only one if its vehicles, though, the two-seat sports car Miata, has had any real longevity. In the 1990s, its family of vehicles, including the 323, 626, 929, and later the Protégé, provided a steady and fairly loyal customer base for Mazda. Now, the brand is returning to that approach.
“In recent years,” Mazda’s VP of Marketing Russell Wager told Loyalty360, “Mazda has shifted its focus to creating a unified look and feel of the Mazda brand as a whole. As a result, the Mazda vehicle lineup now has a unified look and feel, developed with KODO – Soul of Motion design.”
The brand is also worrying less about competitors as it concentrates more on the voice of the consumer.
“As part of the Japanese heritage of the brand, Mazda is always striving to improve and better itself based on what our customers want from their vehicles,” Wager said. “Instead of focusing on any one competitor, we are dedicated to reaching the existing Mazda customer and improving their overall experience with the brand.”
One development the brand is looking at is bringing diesel cars to the U.S., a move that has been widely reported recently. There are no plans, however, to enter the electric or hybrid market.
“At this time, Mazda does not have electric or hybrid vehicles,” Wager added. “We are focused on improving current vehicle technology with what we call SKYACTIV Technology.”
This proprietary technology, which first appeared in 2011, essentially increases fuel efficiency as well as engine output. However, there’s more to it according to Wager.
“This holistic approach to designing and engineering a car is not only meant to improve the looks, drivability, and responsiveness of the vehicle,” he said, “but to also improve the fuel economy by making it lighter and more aerodynamic.”
Don’t look for mini-vans or pick-ups from Mazda anytime soon either, even though the company had modest success with both at times, particularly the latter. The company is instead looking to expand its popular crossover lineup by adding the new CX-9 to the roster that already includes the CX-3 and CX-5.
Mazda hopes it renewed vision, along with its reputation for building reliable vehicles, will help increase brand loyalty as well as its share of the U.S. auto market.
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