Mazda aims to gain ground in the US with new crossover, higher ad spending

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 28, 2012

Mazda is moving forward with a new crossover in the United States this year, even with the financial crisis it experienced in Japan. In addition, the automaker is increasing its advertisement expenses by 25% for 2012. Last week, Mazda Motor Corp. in Japan announced its plans to put $2 billion in new stock up for sale.

It also plans to borrow $878 million from banks to prepare for its largest net loss in 11 years. Moreover, it is seeking an alliance partner. Mazda is greatly affected by the surging yen due to its high rate of exports. The automaker anticipates its fourth straight year of losing money with a full fiscal-year net loss of 100 billion yen or around $1.29 billion, which is worse than previously forecasted. The fiscal year ends March 31.

However, the automaker revealed that it has "bottomed out" and expects a net income in its fiscal fourth quarter and for its fiscal year starting April 1, notwithstanding the strong yen.

Analyst Tatsuo Yoshida at UBS Securities Japan concurs with the assessment. He also anticipates net income in Mazda's fiscal fourth quarter as well as in its upcoming fiscal year. Executives at Mazda in North America refused to make a comment until after the parent company's fund-raising drive, which will probably be in March.

San Jose, Calif.-based Mazda dealer Shaun Del Grande related that he has not noticed changes in the plans of Mazda this year. He related that it is not like when "GM was going bankrupt -- nobody's feeling any of this." Del Grande also owns a Chevrolet dealership.

Mazda executives here have guaranteed to increase advertising spending by 25% this year in order to support the debut of the CX-5 compact crossover. This vehicle is the automaker's first unit to have all the company's Skyactiv technologies like the lightweight frames and chassis, and the more powerful and more efficient powertrains. The CX-5 has started to arrive in showrooms.

When Mazda made the decision to be part of the compact SUV crossover class, a highly competitive segment, the brand knew that it should do more than visually play the part. This same model should bring emotion to new heights and offer driving passion that is essential to the Mazda brand. In particular, the brand follows a new theme called KODO - Soul of Motion which is based on nature’s power and beauty.

KODO design theme was first shown to the public as part of the Mazda Shinari, a sports coupe concept with a 4-door configuration, in 2010. After this, it was seen in the compact SUV crossover dubbed as the Minagi. It is through the Minagi that the production version was made called as the CX-5. Being the first production model to carry the KODO theme, the CX-5 is able to get a good mix of performance and style.

The brand revealed that the CX-5 will signal the start of the future generations using the KODO. What this means is that the new vehicles deliver more force, more speed, and even offers more soul, when it comes to motion. Since it carries the theme of being inspired by nature, the KODO itself is based on how animals move. Thus the design not only displays agility but also emotion and vitality.

To make the CX-5 possible, the design team looked into the fastest animal on land which is the cheetah. They studied how cheetahs would use their whole body much like a spring. This results in generating a large amount of energy in order to move yet continue to have grace and dexterity. It is because of this beauty and excellent combination that the design team was able to put the KODO on an SUV and bring it to new heights.

Thus the exterior is not only sophisticated but displays functionality and sturdiness. It also shows a graceful feel of motion and raises the expectation of experiencing an exciting drive. The simplest way to describe the exterior would be that it is where form meets function.

Indeed, the brand was able to do this through a striking and sporty design mated with remarkable performance. This is not that surprising as the crossover SUV should have a strong and active look. In addition, it has the dynamic quality Mazda is known for and even has an emotional style.

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