Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Who owns who?

There's something screwy here. Ford owns controling interest in Mazda, not the other way around, right? Articles are popping up online today, quoting Mazda's head honcho as saying" We'll help Ford beat the Japanese." Meaning that they will design the new platform for Ford's new subcompact car. Now even I had speculated that the upcoming Aveo/Yaris/Fit fighter could be based on the Mazda2. But in my heart I was hoping that it would be built from the European Fiesta/Fusion/Ka platform.

So now I'm confused, who owns controlling interest in who? Half of Ford's vehicles for the US will be based on Mazda platfroms and mechanicals. The Fusion/Milan/Zephyr (MarkZ now)/Edge/MKX (Aviator)/Mazda6/MazdaCX7 as well as Escape/Tribute and Focus(euro)/Mazda3/VolvoS40(V50/C30)/Mazda5, all built on Mazda derived chassis. What's not based on Mazda? 500/Freestyle/Montego/MKS/VolvoS80(V70/XC90) all built on the Volvo platform, Mustang, Crown Victoria(Town Car/Grand Marquis) and the trucks. Arguably you could say that the Ranger is unique, but it's shared with the Mazda B series trucks.

So is Ford becoming just a bigger outlet for Mazda designs? What makes the Mazda design superior than the designs of Ford Europe? It can't be cost, as some Euro designs are built in Latin America, China and Russia. Is it safety? If so why aren't all Ford vehicles in Europe built off Mazda designs. Has Ford gotten to the point, where they can't do anything for the North American market that isn't related to Mazda? Without the exception of full size trucks and vans, most Ford vehicles have some Mazda connection.

It's not that I don't like Mazda, it's more that I'm confused as to the reliance on their platforms over any other available. The Fiesta platform has spawned many models all over the world, the Ka, Puma, Ikon, Bantam, Courier, Fusion and EcoSport, are they all crap? Why does Ford assume that they couldn't be made suitable for North American markets? Is the Mazda2 so superior to the Fiesta? Then why does the Fiesta sell in such numbers around the world? Why is Ford getting ready to bring a new Fiesta chassis to market, and partnering with Fiat for common platform? If the Mazda2 was so superior, wouldn't they build the new Fiesta on that chassis? Or maybe they are, does anyone know?

I like the Fusion/Mazda6 chassis, and the Volvos80/500 chassis, but is there no talent in Dearborn anymore? Has Ford become so reliant on Mazda, that they can no longer create original designs other than trucks?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ford is using the Mazda6 platform because unlike the Euro cars, it was designed from the beginning to be built in the U.S. (Flat Rock, MI) for the U.S.

Don't forget that Ford snarfed the LS from Jaguar's S-Type, and grabbed the 500 from Volvo.


Because Ford has decided that its American engineers will spend more of their energies designing truck and SUV platforms, where Ford has historically been strong, and save $$$ by sharing car platforms from others. Hence Mazda is the "center of excellence" for small cars and I-4 engines.

Also they are probably still stinging from the failure of the Contour, the last attempt to bring a Ford of Europe product over here.