Mazda may have rejoiced from having been released from U.S. ownership in 2008 but it still can’t get a break since it marks the fourth consecutive year that it has faced losses. For the fiscal year that ends March 31, the small, export-reliant company headed by CEO Takashi Yamanouchi reported an expected shortfall of ¥100 billion, or about $1.22 billion.
Mazda suffers from declining sales, a misaligned global manufacturing footprint and surging r&d costs. In 2008, broke Ford Motor Co. sold its controlling stake in Mazda Motor Corp. During these difficult times, Ford had saved Mazda but when Ford was losing, it was dumping its shares in Mazda and other companies to get cash and to refocus on its core operations.
Mazda was only able to get back to self-ruling after 12 years. It hasn’t been faring well at all. For the second time in two years, Mazda is having a massive equity share sale this month to raise the money to repair its structural problems and finance the advanced technology it requires to go up against more established competitors. Mazda’s leadership went to 67-year-old Yamanouchi, who in 2008 was the company's first CEO after Ford’s rule, says Autonews.
He has a detailed revival plan that seeks to return Mazda to profit next year. It hopes to reduce costs and lessen its exposure to the yen's unpredictable swings and to steeply increase sales. In four years, Mazda has set a target to sell 1.7 million vehicles each year worldwide, about 36% higher than the 1.25 million estimated for the current fiscal year. Mass-market Mazda has lower annual sales than BMW even when it has lower prices and doesn’t have huge safety margins.
Mazda enters the highly competitive compact crossover sport utility vehicle segment with the all-new CX-5. The new CX-5 does more than merely look the part. It needs to evoke a degree of emotion and a passion for driving that’s worthy of the Mazda name. It is the first production model that features the brand’s new design theme called “KODO - Soul of Motion.” The new Mazda X-5 achieves an exceptional balance between performance and style through the inspiration of nature’s beauty and power, as well as the concept of motion.
The KODO theme debuted in 2010 on the four-door sports coupe concept, the Mazda Shinari, then on Mazda’s compact crossover SUV concept, the Minagi, which is the basis for the CX-5. Now, starting with the Mazda CX-5, KODO is going to exemplify the design of one generation of Mazda vehicles. It will exemplify a faster, more soulful, and more forceful means of motion.
KODO’s essence is brimming with the emotion, vitality, and agility that can be found in animal movements. Mazda CX-5 designers specifically studied cheetahs by observing how the fastest creatures on land use their whole body to set a large amount of energy into motion, just like a spring, with such dexterity and grace. The designers, stirred by such beauty, have set out to push the SUV look to another level through KODO.
This resulted to a sophisticated exterior that boldly projects a sense of motion that is elegant and that ushers in an exciting drive, while also expressing the typical sturdiness and functionality of an SUV.