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Why did Mazda miss the luxury brand boat?

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Why did Mazda miss the luxury brand boat?

 
Old 03-13-2018, 08:04 PM
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Why did Mazda miss the luxury brand boat?

Today, after watching Doug Demuro's video on the Genesis G90 I oddly remembered that Mazda was considering launching its own luxury brand. If I remember correctly the Millenia was supposed to be the foundation for that brand. Obviously it never happened. What a shame too, because Mazda's are solid vehicles. Also, they sprinkle just enough sportiness into the brand to let buyers know that they are a bit more than a people mover company. With their reliability (sans the rotary engines), sportiness, and history they could have been a solid contender in the luxury brand market. The Millenia was a nice platform too.


Photo source: cars.com

Mazda stopped making it in 2002. It might have took them three or so years to develop their first car for their luxury brand. In 2005 they would have been far behind the likes of Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus but Hyundai didn't debut the Genesis (which we know eventually became its own brand) until 2007 / 2008. Overall, I think Lexus would still be "king of the mountain" of Japanese luxury car manufactures. However, a Mazda luxury brand would have done three things, I believe. (1) Pushed Acura further down the desirability list of Japanese luxury car manufactures. (2) Went toe-to-toe with Infiniti. (3) Made Hyundai think twice about entering the luxury market, as a Mazda entry would have made it that much more competitive. In fact, Mazda, if you're listening it's not to late. You can start with this car!



Thoughts?
kr
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:45 PM
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I think Mazda likes to cram their highest trim levels with features that would make it compete with something considered entry-level luxury. For example, they might set up the Mazda3 GT to be a competitor to an Audi A3.

Not sure why they went this route. Maybe it's cheaper? It is a relatively small carmaker.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:07 PM
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It was going to cost way to much money and then there was a global recession and the import tariff threat scared them off. In addition having a luxury badge/brand doesn't guarantee success at all. The Millenia was very well done, the Miller Cycle engine in particular. Great fit and finish.

Ha! found this old article from 1992...
​​​​​​Mazda Puts Brakes on Amati : The Car Maker Cancels Plans to Launch a Luxury Car Division - latimes
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:15 AM
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Back in the 2000's, Acura was actually a powerhouse in the entry level luxury space. The TL was kicking ass and taking names, the Integra/TSX was everywhere, and the MDX just debut and was being gobbled up like crazy. Mazda would have had a tough time back then but now might actually not be a bad time to get into this. Mazda, unlike Hyundai, is known for being a quality, reliable, and sporty brand and tossing in all the luxury finishes that goes with a luxury brand wouldn't be all that hard to do for them at this point.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
Back in the 2000's, Acura was actually a powerhouse in the entry level luxury space. The TL was kicking ass and taking names, the Integra/TSX was everywhere, and the MDX just debut and was being gobbled up like crazy. Mazda would have had a tough time back then but now might actually not be a bad time to get into this. Mazda, unlike Hyundai, is known for being a quality, reliable, and sporty brand and tossing in all the luxury finishes that goes with a luxury brand wouldn't be all that hard to do for them at this point.
Minus their tranny issues on the 1G Mazda 6.

I felt like I was in my TL all over again.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:45 AM
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:55 AM
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Maybe it’s just me, but a fully optioned Mazda is half a grade more luxurious than its Toyota or Honda counterpart. At least that’s how I perceive the brand. Ie. putting aside all other facts, and focusing on just the brand, I’d feel more accomplished (if that’s the right word) to drive a loaded CX9 than a loaded Pilot.

That said I kind of view Mazda as being a tweener...between Honda and Acura....or Nissan and Infiniti...I feel like they would be partially demoting themselves if they created a true luxury brand above them.

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Old 03-14-2018, 10:10 AM
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The answer is surely not enough progression in sales. Mazda messed up in late '90s, generally speaking. The 626 1998 is the best example.

The Millennia and last 929 were gorgeous in their prime times.




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Old 03-14-2018, 11:23 AM
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Mazda now reminds me a bit of the Acura from ~15 years ago. Little sport/little luxury, higher-end amenities and features, but for a reasonable price.

I think they are in a pretty good space and making a full run at the luxury segment would do them more harm than good
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by juniorbean View Post
Mazda now reminds me a bit of the Acura from ~15 years ago. Little sport/little luxury, higher-end amenities and features, but for a reasonable price.

I think they are in a pretty good space and making a full run at the luxury segment would do them more harm than good
Agreed for the most part...the only thing I ask for is a return of Mazdaspeed models... Even though they are fun to drive, the current crop is slow AF.
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
Back in the 2000's, Acura was actually a powerhouse in the entry level luxury space. The TL was kicking ass and taking names, the Integra/TSX was everywhere, and the MDX just debut and was being gobbled up like crazy. Mazda would have had a tough time back then but now might actually not be a bad time to get into this. Mazda, unlike Hyundai, is known for being a quality, reliable, and sporty brand and tossing in all the luxury finishes that goes with a luxury brand wouldn't be all that hard to do for them at this point.
Mazdas feel incredibly cheap when you sit in one. You get what you pay for.
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TacoBello View Post
Mazdas feel incredibly cheap when you sit in one. You get what you pay for.
I have been more than surprised with the quality, fit, and finish of a 2017+ Mazda...

The gap between luxury cars and mainstream cars is rapidly closing these days. The biggest thing the big luxury brands have going for them is their brand name. It won't be long before you can get a Honda with the same driving dynamics and engine power as a low level BMW for half the price.
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Old 03-14-2018, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
Agreed for the most part...the only thing I ask for is a return of Mazdaspeed models... Even though they are fun to drive, the current crop is slow AF.
Agreed. Otherwise they'll really be taking a page from Acura's book after Acura dropped the Type S lines. Hoping the "speeds" make their way back soon...
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Old 03-14-2018, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
It won't be long before you can get a Honda with the same driving dynamics and engine power as a low level BMW for half the price.
Damn, them are fighting words.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TacoBello View Post
Mazdas feel incredibly cheap when you sit in one. You get what you pay for.


Car and Driver
" Open the door, and the CX-9’s interior welcomes passengers with a cabin that wouldn’t look out of place in an Audi. Mazda has brilliantly arranged soft-touch plastic with handsome graining, brushed aluminum, and, in our Signature-trim test car, genuine rosewood. The dashboard is handsome and features heavily contoured areas with either a 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen sprouting from the top; all controls are within easy reach of the driver. The leather steering wheel is thin, but its contrast stitching and metal trim create visual balance. Overall, the CX-9 is a delightfully elegant place to spend time."

I know that is Mazda's current top of the line vehicle, but the Mazda 6 ain't shabby either.

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Old 03-14-2018, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TacoBello View Post
Mazdas feel incredibly cheap when you sit in one. You get what you pay for.
Hmmm, I beg to differ, our 2016 Mazda3 is pretty darn nice.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
Hmmm, I beg to differ, our 2016 Mazda3 is pretty darn nice.
I agree. I don’t think recent Mazdas are cheap at all. Especially not the CX-5/9 or the 6. Certainly not when compared to cars from their own class.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:32 PM
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I cant speak for the cx9, but the others felt cheap. What can I say. It was a pleasure getting back into the TL

lets not not forget that Mazda didn't suddenly stumble upon manufacturing processes, unknown to all other auto manufacturers, that allow them to build high grade interiors for the price they go for.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:39 PM
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I like Acura's interior layouts but the thing I don't like is the copious amounts of plastic they use. I know all manufacturers use plastic in their interiors but Acura seems to use a lot more than normal, especially for a luxury brand.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TacoBello View Post
I cant speak for the cx9, but the others felt cheap. What can I say. It was a pleasure getting back into the TL

lets not not forget that Mazda didn't suddenly stumble upon manufacturing processes, unknown to all other auto manufacturers, that allow them to build high grade interiors for the price they go for.
Hmmm, I think if we keep things in context, that will help the discussion. Is the interior of my TL nicer than the interior of my wife's Mazda3 s GT? Yes, decidedly so, but then again, the TL is a significantly more expensive car. When weighed against competitors in its class, say the Civic, Corolla, Golf..., the Mazda3 is a decidedly nicer interior space at pretty much any given dollar threshold.
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Old 03-14-2018, 03:11 PM
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Mazda interior is better now then pre 2010-11.
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Old 03-14-2018, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
Hmmm, I think if we keep things in context, that will help the discussion. Is the interior of my TL nicer than the interior of my wife's Mazda3 s GT? Yes, decidedly so, but then again, the TL is a significantly more expensive car. When weighed against competitors in its class, say the Civic, Corolla, Golf..., the Mazda3 is a decidedly nicer interior space at pretty much any given dollar threshold.
How dare you bring common sense and logic back into this conversation!?!?!
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Old 03-14-2018, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Flipster23 View Post
Mazda interior is better now then pre 2010-11.
Yeah, the interior of the 2009 Mazda3 i TVI I bought back in 2008 to teach my son how to drive a stick was decidedly spartan and cheap compared to our 2016 Mazda3 s GT.
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
Hmmm, I think if we keep things in context, that will help the discussion. Is the interior of my TL nicer than the interior of my wife's Mazda3 s GT? Yes, decidedly so, but then again, the TL is a significantly more expensive car. When weighed against competitors in its class, say the Civic, Corolla, Golf..., the Mazda3 is a decidedly nicer interior space at pretty much any given dollar threshold.
right, but my TL was at that point ten years old already... looking at a brand new Mazda- cx5, 3, 6. You're right, they're not necessarily in the same realm, but in each of those cars I felt like each one left me wanting more. I'm not saying you have to agree with me. it was my opinion

I'd take an Accord interior over the 6, at least in 2016, without a doubt. Civic over the 3??? That'd take some closer examination.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:41 PM
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Old 03-16-2018, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by juniorbean View Post
Mazda now reminds me a bit of the Acura from ~15 years ago. Little sport/little luxury, higher-end amenities and features, but for a reasonable price.

I think they are in a pretty good space and making a full run at the luxury segment would do them more harm than good
I get the same sense too. I also agree a separate luxury brand would just divide and drag Mazda down. It was the thing to do in the 1980s and it allowed Honda to sell more cars (beyond their import limit) under a different banner. Today, the Acura brand is doing ok, but doesn't have the prestige it once had. Some would argue that Acura should just go away. The same can be said for Nissan's Infiniti badge. Toyota's Lexus is probably the most successful of the 3.

Mazda is doing the right thing; make everything a little nicer, offer a premium top trim level, and have an attainable halo car (Miata).
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Old 03-17-2018, 05:53 AM
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That Mazda Millenia was a excellent car and far ahead of it's time.
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Old 03-24-2018, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Black Tire View Post
That Mazda Millenia was a excellent car and far ahead of it's time.
Agreed. Definitely would have been a great model to kick off the Amati brand.
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by WheelMcCoy View Post
I get the same sense too. I also agree a separate luxury brand would just divide and drag Mazda down. It was the thing to do in the 1980s and it allowed Honda to sell more cars (beyond their import limit) under a different banner. Today, the Acura brand is doing ok, but doesn't have the prestige it once had. Some would argue that Acura should just go away. The same can be said for Nissan's Infiniti badge. Toyota's Lexus is probably the most successful of the 3.

Mazda is doing the right thing; make everything a little nicer, offer a premium top trim level, and have an attainable halo car (Miata).

in your opinion, what would the current ranking of the Japanese “luxury” brands?
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Black Tire View Post
That Mazda Millenia was a excellent car and far ahead of it's time.
I believe Jalopnik did a little piece recently on the Millenia and spoke specifically about it's engine and supercharger!
the sound that it makes is just awesome and orgasmic
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by TacoBello View Post
Mazdas feel incredibly cheap when you sit in one. You get what you pay for.
I would disagree with you on this point 100%. The fit and finish combined with the materials used in my CX9 are top notch. I have a friend going from a RR Sport to one
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:12 AM
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Personally, I feel like Honda and Mazda have done a great job elevating their brands. Mazda does affordable to high-end affordable very well.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Chief F1 Fan View Post
I would disagree with you on this point 100%. The fit and finish combined with the materials used in my CX9 are top notch. I have a friend going from a RR Sport to one
Agreed, I took a test drive in a 2018 Mazda 6 GT last week & it's quite nice inside & out. Initial quality-wise, it was superb, IMO.
In it's price range, I'd say it exceeds other sedans (Accord, Fusion, Malibu, etc) in interior feel.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Chief F1 Fan View Post
I would disagree with you on this point 100%. The fit and finish combined with the materials used in my CX9 are top notch. I have a friend going from a RR Sport to one
Agreed. I checked one out at the car show (solely because you bought one and I wanted to know what I was missing ) and I must admit, it was super nice. I was impressed.

Originally Posted by 00TL-P3.2 View Post
Agreed, I took a test drive in a 2018 Mazda 6 GT last week & it's quite nice inside & out. Initial quality-wise, it was superb, IMO.
In it's price range, I'd say it exceeds other sedans (Accord, Fusion, Malibu, etc) in interior feel.
Sat in a 6 also, and you could feel it in the doors, as soon as I opened them. You can hear the less insulation in the door, too. It sounds a bit more tinny. Minor details, I know... but it was stuff like that, I noticed. Overall though, I must admit, I liked the look of the interior and exterior more than the new Accord. Or Camry. or Malibu. Can't speak for the Fusion, though- never looked at a recent one. I would legitimately consider the 6 if I was looking for a new sedan.

Most of the Mazdas at the car show were that deep red color they have... my God... under those intense lights, that paint looks mesmerizing.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by TacoBello View Post
Most of the Mazdas at the car show were that deep red color they have... my God... under those intense lights, that paint looks mesmerizing.
Agreed, when Mrs. Horseshoez and I were shopping for her 2016 Mazda3 I campaigned heavily for the deep red; she ultimately went with the charcoal gray metallic.
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Old 04-17-2018, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by TacoBello View Post
Agreed. I checked one out at the car show (solely because you bought one and I wanted to know what I was missing ) and I must admit, it was super nice. I was impressed.


Sat in a 6 also, and you could feel it in the doors, as soon as I opened them. You can hear the less insulation in the door, too. It sounds a bit more tinny. Minor details, I know... but it was stuff like that, I noticed. Overall though, I must admit, I liked the look of the interior and exterior more than the new Accord. Or Camry. or Malibu. Can't speak for the Fusion, though- never looked at a recent one. I would legitimately consider the 6 if I was looking for a new sedan.

Most of the Mazdas at the car show were that deep red color they have... my God... under those intense lights, that paint looks mesmerizing.
IMO the Fusion is a bit of a letdown. I wasn't impressed with the AWD 2.7TT, felt slower than my truck
Also seemed like a car you sit on, not in. Far from being as sporty as the 6 & Accord feel.

Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
Agreed, when Mrs. Horseshoez and I were shopping for her 2016 Mazda3 I campaigned heavily for the deep red; she ultimately went with the charcoal gray metallic.
Soul Red is definitely pretty, and Soul Red Crystal is supposedly an evolution of it. Just not sure if I can do a red car
Machine Gray likely for me, want to see Depp Crystal Blue in person as well.
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:35 PM
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Soul red with gold or bronze rims

I'm not a huge fan of solid red, but deep red, like soul red, oh man... So sexy.
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Old 04-18-2018, 05:47 AM
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I saw a soul red CX5 at the dealer yesterday so I paused and stared at it for a few seconds thinking I might like that color- was the determination.
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Old 04-18-2018, 08:46 AM
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It looks nice in the sun, but loses some character in overcast/darker conditions.
I've had 1 'red' car & just not a fan overall.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:02 AM
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