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article details
Author Jeff Palmer
Categories Competing Makes, TOV Road Test
Create Date March 26, 2003 11:50
Last Update May 01, 2004 17:52
Mazda 6 - The Apex of Mazda's Turnaround?
After opening the '90's with a solid portfolio of fresh, stylish, and innovative products (RX-7, Miata, 626/MX-6), Mazda closed out the millenium with somewhat of a whimper. With the exception of the Millenia and the venerable Miata, the lineup remained competent, yet decidedly dull. Fortunately for the automotive enthusiast, this shortlived lull seems to be well on its way through a full recovery, once again led by fresh new product.

Mazdas have historically been associated with fun-to-drive value and practicality. It's unknown why there appears to have been a hiccup in this strategy, though one might direct the blame in the general direction of Ford Motor Company. By upping their investment in Mazda to 33.4% in 1996, Ford took a controlling stake in the company, by Japanese law. It's hard to say whether this was a truly disruptive event, but it could be a convenient excuse. Whatever the case, Mazda's management must have recognized the precarious position of their brand, and they seem to have concluded that they should focus on doing what they do best. The 1999 Protege' was the first step in this direction, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a revolutionary product for Mazda. It clearly served as a refocusing point. I believe that if we are in fact witnessing the "rebirth" of Mazda, the 6 represents the true essence of the "new" Mazda. This car sets the pace for Mazda in terms of driving dynamics, value, and perhaps most importantly, identity. It will soon be followed by the RX-8, the all-new Miata, and eventually the RX-7, all of which will likely share many styling cues with the handsome 6.

Some people may disagree with my position, reasoning that the Protege' also represents the "new" Mazda. To an extent, I don't dispute that sentiment. My opinion is not intended to discredit the Protege', but the 6 represents such a radical and complete departure from the model it supplants (the 626), I have to consider the 6 to be the apex of Mazda's abrupt turnabout. Furthering my (admittedly lame) metaphor, I would say the Protege' represents the initial turn-in. The next generation Protege' shouldn't be too far down the road, and I expect it to fully feature the new "DNA" as well.

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Date Thread Starter Thread
03-26-2003 16:43 EXCELLENT Review   (Score: 1, Normal) KenB
03-26-2003 18:00 Brillo
03-27-2003 09:19 StretchSJE
03-27-2003 09:42 JeffX
03-26-2003 22:55 NealX
03-26-2003 23:08 gilbert
04-13-2003 07:37 dodole
03-27-2003 03:48 Hatchback for the US?   (Score: 1, Normal) Hgood1
03-27-2003 09:53 JeffX
04-08-2003 06:59 howlinbjk
03-28-2003 10:00 new RX-7 ?   (Score: 1, Normal) ebno
03-28-2003 18:32 hondaknight
03-29-2003 00:04 NealX
03-29-2003 01:23 DC2
03-29-2003 01:39 Brillo
03-29-2003 15:24 jfunk
03-29-2003 16:24 mditty
03-31-2003 19:58 jarod
03-30-2003 12:02 floundericiousMI
03-29-2003 21:24 ebno
03-29-2003 23:51 NealX
03-27-2003 09:01 More performance tests!!!   (Score: 1, Normal) StretchSJE
03-27-2003 09:08 StretchSJE
03-27-2003 09:50 JeffX
03-27-2003 10:08 iceman6
03-29-2003 08:54 StretchSJE
03-27-2003 14:31 Liong
03-28-2003 14:27 This is a nice idea   (Score: 1, Normal) NSXman
03-28-2003 14:59 JeffX
03-28-2003 17:17 Lung Fu Mo Shi
03-28-2003 18:00 mad_ox1
03-28-2003 17:26 an excellent unbiased review   (Score: 1, Normal) Tom Atkian
03-26-2003 20:41 I Test drove a V6 MT   (Score: 1, Normal) MASTERNC
03-27-2003 12:27 Liong
03-27-2003 13:32 JeffX
03-27-2003 14:25 Liong
03-27-2003 14:41 MASTERNC
03-26-2003 19:57 Detailed and professional   (Score: 1, Normal) ns
03-26-2003 20:51 dydx
03-26-2003 21:10 JeffX
03-26-2003 20:58 JeffX
03-26-2003 19:01 Thanks for the review   (Score: 1, Normal) Jeff MGB
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