Tag Archives: Toyota

Mazda Badge Engineering or… Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM)

Leaving the restaurant after celebrating my dad’s birthday my sister noticed a new Fiat 124 Spider in the parking lot and commented: “Hey, that’s a nice Miata!”

Funny that…

I explained the concept of Fiata to her and thought it would be an excellent topic to research and share in this blog. I like Mazda’s. I like their badge engineering efforts with other major companies. And having lived in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia I’ve been exposed to some of their other popular OEM agreements with Ford primarily, but also Suzuki, Nissan and most currently Toyota.

So here’s my attempt at explaining some of the “shared” platforms between Mazda and others.


Mazda & Fiat

Mazda Roadster / Mazda MX-5 – Fiat 124 Spider / Abarth 124 Spider

This is my favorite tie up because obviously the MX-5 started my relationship with Mazda and at some point I would love to buy a Fiat just for variety’s sake.


Mazda & Ford

Mazda BT-50 – Mazda B-series – Ford Ranger

Mazda Tribute – Ford Escape

I almost bought a Ford Escape once to replace our family’s aging Ford Explorer. Tribute would have been an option before I decided to focus my search on CX-7 & CX-5

Ford owned a big chunk of Mazda so there were lots of badge engineered vehicles. They go so far back I can’t even find pretty pictures to display here, so I’ll just list them all:

  • Ford Escape – Mazda Tribute
  • Ford Explorer – Mazda Navajo
  • Ford Courier – Mazda B-series
  • Ford Ranger – Mazda BT-50
  • Ford Probe – Mazda MX-6
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda Soho (Africa)
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda 121 (Europe)
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda 2
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda Demio
  • Ford i-MAX – Mazda 5
  • Ford i-MAX – Mazda Premacy
  • Ford Ixion – Mazda Premacy
  • Ford MAV – Mazda Premacy

 

Mazda Demio – Mazda2 – Ford Fiesta

Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Ford Ixion – Ford MAV

Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Ford i-MAX

It’s worth noting that Mazda uses different model names based on the market. Therefore a Demio is also Mazda2 which replaced Mazda 121 of the past.


Mazda & Toyota

Mazda Demio – Mazda2  – Scion iA – Toyota Yaris iA

This is the most recent relationship with the world’s largest car manufacturer which started off as a Scion brand that Toyota decided to fold into the parent company and now it’s the Yaris replacement. An odd scenario considering how many Yaris & Echo’s Toyota sold on it’s own over the past many years of making the little cars. Why outsource this production to Mazda now?


Mazda & Suzuki

Mazda AZ-1 / Autozam AZ-1 / Suzuki Cara

The Suzuki – Mazda relationship stretches back many generations. Including their famous AZ-1 / Cara project which was marketed under Mazda’s Autozam nameplate. Besides Autozam Mazda also launched Eunos which was originally one to market the Roadster in Japan known as MX-5 Miata everywhere else. Amati and efini brands which were meant to be the luxury divisions of Mazda much like Lexus was to Toyota, Acura to Honda or Infiniti to Nissan. Ford had it’s Lincoln brand and Cadillac did the trick for GM long before.

The list of Mazda – Suzuki mini-micro kei car collaborations:

  • Suzuki Every Wagon – Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum
  • Suzuki  Carry – Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum
  • Suzuki Wagon R – Autozam AZ Wagon – Mazda AZ Wagon
  • Suzuki Kei – Mazda Laputa
  • Suzuki Alto – Mazda Carol
  • Suzuki Lapin – Mazda Spiano
  • Suzuki Jimmy – Mazda AZ Offroad
  • Suzuki Vitara – Mazda Proceed Levante
  • Suzuki Ertiga – Proton Ertiga – Mazda VX-1

 

Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum – Suzuki Every Wagon

Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum – Suzuki Carry

Autozam AZ Wagon – Mazda AZ Wagon – Suzuki Wagon R

Mazda Laputa – Suzuki Kei 

Mazda Carol – Suzuki Alto

Mazda Carol – Suzuki Alto

Mazda Spiano – Suzuki Lapin

Mazda Spiano – Suzuki Lapin

Mazda AZ Offroad – Suzuki Jimmy

Mazda Proceed Levante – Suzuki Vitara

Mazda Proceed Levante – Suzuki Vitara

Mazda VX-1 ~ Suzuki Ertiga ~ Proton Ertiga

I could be wrong but it seems to me that Mazda rebadged every Suzuki made on the Japanese market. Which is interesting…


Mazda & Nissan

 Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Nissan Lafesta Highway STAR

Mazda Bongo – Nissan Vanette

Mazda Bongo – Nissan Vanette Truck

Mazda Familia Van – Nissan AD Expert

The Mazda Nissan relationship seems very interesting in that Mazda builds the Lafesta minivan for Nissan, along with the commercial Bongo rebadged to Nissan’s Vanette models. But Nissan provides the rebadged AD Expert marketed by Mazda as a Familia Van… Mazda’s Familia in Japan is marketed as Mazda 323, Mazda Protegé and more recently Mazda3 or Mazda Axela and none of the Mazda models look anything like the Nissan version… but, whatever works!


Mazda & Kia

Mazda Sentia – Kia Enterprise

This luxobarge was a rebadged Mazda for the Korean market before Kia/Huyndai started getting all fancy with their own big car designs.

Besides this product there was also Kia Pride which was a rebadged Ford Festiva just like Mazda 121 and Mazda Soho.


Mazda & Holden

This is going way back but Mazda used to sell Australian Holden’s in Japan as Mazda Roadpacer – rebadged from Holden Premier. Apparently Holden shipped the whole car minus an engine where Mazda shoved a rotary under the hood and put it on the market. It was not terribly successful.

 


Mazda & Isuzu

The next Mazda pick-up truck will be a rebadged Isuzu. Currently Isuzu and GM have a partnership where Isuzu’s rebadged D-Max trucks sell as Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon.

 

I will update this page as I find more Mazda collaborations out there.

Mazda MX-5 & RX-8 Bear Mountain and Seven Lakes Drive Winter Tires Cruise

Thanks to Chris for organizing another excellent Bear Mountain cruise this time featuring Mazda’s almost exclusively (there was a Toyobaru BRZ that infiltrated the group of all the RX-8’s and MX-5’s)

This day had all the ingredients of making a fantastic weekend! There were cool cars, cool roads, a little spirited driving and good food with friends. What more could one ask for?

Sleep… perhaps!

After the midnight finish of all the fluid flushes at Chris’s house out in western countryside of New Jersey I didn’t get home until 3am. Since the engine and transmission sounded different than before the flush I spend another hour or so researching what the proper technique is of checking the level on a sealed transmission. Went to sleep at 4:30am woke up at 6:30am to meet up with the group in Sloatsburg New York to go on a cruise organized by Chris.

I knew there would be some spirited driving involved so I was shitting bricks worried sick that I may damage the transmission. But all went well. I had to go because I had agreed to make my first Facebook facilitated purchase: a set of Bilstein shocks off of a 2012 NC2 Miata that would also be attending the event. And I really wanted to hang out with Chris in his MX-5, his brother Eric in his RX-8, Sakshik in his Miata and whomever else would show up. Luckily we had a good crowd in attendance reaching 10 cars at one point.

Enough talk, here’s the pix:

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I’m now the proud owner of a set of Bilsteins for my Miata!

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And this is the car they came out of at only 14,800 miles apparently!

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That’s a sweet looking ride!

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The last time I’ve seen so many RX-8’s was when they were racing with the Grand Am series.

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First stop at the top of Bear Mountain to add two more cars to the group. Another RX-8 and a Toyobaru BRZ.

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Lots and lots of bikes out today, was a really beautiful day for a ride!

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(apparently not part of our group… hmm!)

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Since there were a lot of hikers and bikers on the roads, many of our cruises were at a snail’s pace, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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Some poor biker flew off the road, luckily it wasn’t a steep cliff down

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Optimized parking at the Barnstormer BBQ joint…

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Pretty convenient maps showing all the interesting twisties especially geared at the bikers visiting the restaurant

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Last but not least the excellent food… finger lickin’ good!

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Nürburgring 6 hour FIA (WEC) World Endurance Championship on the Grand Prix Circuit

Second weekend in Europe and another circuit in another country. From the Netherlands I took a train down to Germany. Amsterdam to Cologne in just a few hours, then onto the Nurburgring. Unlike the last two times I volunteered there, I got to work the Grand Prix circuit since WEC did not use the Nordschleife. And like the last weekend in Holland I got to work the last turn, which allowed me to prowl the grid before the start of the race.

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It was great to see all the cars, though Porsche was impossible to access, like a million people crowded Mark Webber… I could not squeeze through.

It was a great race!

And so were the support races. My favorite was the classic DTM, the old Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, the old World Touring Car Championship cars, it was amazing!

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The whole Nurburgring experience, like every other time I’ve been there, were amazing. I cannot wait to go back!

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Mazda MX-5: Hiring MX-5 Roadster in Rarotonga, Cook Islands

back to: South Pacific MX-5 Miata Road Trip Overview

f-australiaMX-5 Shopping in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

f-australiaMX-5 Road Trip from Kirribilli to Balmoral, NSW, Australia

MX-5 Road Trip from Papakura towards Coromandel, NZ

MX-5 Hire Cars on Holiday in Rarotonga, Cook Islands


I did not actually rent a car in Rarotonga. I didn’t need to. I was only there for a few days and with regular bus service stopping right outside my resort, there wasn’t a need for it. But I was curious what options there were for people wanting to hire an MX-5 on their vacation to paradise, and sadly no information was readily available via the search engines.

What did I find out?

It is possible to rent a Mazda MX-5 on your visit to Rarotonga. You could also rent one on at least one of the other islands: Aitutaki which is a popular day trip destination.

My plan before coming to the Cook Islands was to lay on the beach and do absolutely nothing… which I attempted to do on the first day, but by the second day I was getting pretty restless. So I went ahead and ventured into town: Avarua. There are only two bus services on Rarotonga, one running Clockwise and another Anti-Clockwise. The Anti-Clockwise bus would get me to the town quicker but the Clockwise bus took the scenic route around the whole island. Before I could even reach Avarua I spied a nice red NC with a giant rear spoiler hidden in a garage near the Pacific Hotel. Not long after getting off the bus in town at Cooks Corner I spotted another NA this time Black with a Tan soft top. I kept seeing that car a few more times during my stay, but I was really after an NC model.

I figured the local Avis office would be a good place to start my search for a later model MX-5. And sure enough they had one… allegedly. But according to the sales person behind the counter that car was in the shop. She said she would try to get it out to the office the following day and I’d be able to rent it for $80 bux a day (that’s New Zealand dollars as the Cook Islands use kiwi currency). I knew not to get my hopes up the next day but figured I might as well check it out. And to no-one’s surprise the car wasn’t there. So thanks for nothing Avis.

I bought the all day pass for the bus on my last day on the island and used it quire frequently to check out various beaches and resorts for my future visit. And what do you know? I spotted a white NA at a Pacific Cars rental agency right on the main road near Muri Beach. The car looked to be in a pretty rough shape, but so did many other rentals on the roads. The most common car for hire was a Toyota Passo which was my favorite car in Southeast Asia, technically in it’s Perodua Myvi variation, as the Toyota Passo and it’s sister Dahaitsu Boon look very bland in stock form. But seeing the NA Roadster parked up at a rental car place gave me hope there would be more to find. So I went in asking about newer models. The person behind the counter said he didn’t have one but the Polynesian Car Hire next door may… he described the same green NC that Avis was telling me about which made me wonder if that car was privately owned and leased out to Avis, Polynesian and anyone else interested in it when they found a customer for it.

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I took a look around Polynesian’s lot and saw a few mid-2000’s BMW Z3’s, a pretty Orange MG Roadster with a rear engine, and a few weird looking Daihatsu’s with a bubble top look to them. But no more MX-5’s. So I went ahead with my next trip to the beach at another resort. Along the way I spotted a nice Gold color NB driving by, and then the Black NA passed me again with a different driver behind the wheel from the last time I saw it.

So my conclusion based on these observations is: there are plenty of MX-5’s on Cook Islands. Considering it was the off season when I visited Rarotonga I would venture a guess that many cars are probably stored in garages waiting for the tourism industry to pick up. The few cars I saw were probably not the only ones on the island. And as I was getting ready to leave for the airport for my midnight flight I flipped through the local tourism magazine where a big MX-5 rental advertising popped out at me. The picture showed a Grey NC on Aitutaki Island… Great! Admittedly most cars on the island seem to be second hand Japanese imports or possibly even second hand New Zealand imports after they were already imported used from Japan. I would be really surprised to learn of new cars sold in Raro.

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The more common cars for rent at Rarotonga included the following models:

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Toyota BB
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Toyota Rectis
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Nissan Micra

One way to tell rental cars from privately owned vehicles is by the license plates, the rentals obviously start with “R” while private cars typically have just the number sequence on the plate. Hopefully this info helps someone heading to Rarotonga with an interest in MX-5’s.

Kia Orana Cook Islands!

Since the majority of tourists to the Cooks are Kiwis, there is a reliable option to rent an MX-5 while in New Zealand, check out this page for more information: www.mx5rentals.com/

Accepted to the 24 hours of Le Mans

Just a week before my flight to France I have received an acceptance letter to marshal the 24 hours of Le Mans at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe. Normally I would start the post with “Woo Hoo Got Accepted to…” but the mood is still somewhat dampened by last weekend’s escapades and the fact that none of my travel plans for Le Mans in France and the British Grand Prix in the UK are complete. I have never been so ashamed of myself as I am now with my piss poor planning for this massive series of events. Of course there are things that were beyond my control and that are still incredibly frustrating, like my SNCF train tickets for TGV and Eurostar being lost in the mail and still in limbo whether to buy another way or continue to wait with hope against hope that they will ultimately show up before my flight. Its not easy.

Getting into Le Mans was also not easy. For anyone considering doing the event, as I’m sure many would hold this race as a pinnacle of their marshalling career, be aware that its more difficult to apply for than Formula 1. In my case, by leaps and bounds more difficult. But its not impossible. So if interested, pursue it!

I’m not sure what my Internet situation will be once in Europe so updates will probably be limited, but I am looking forward to enjoying my experience to the fullest once I arrive. Despite still having holes in the transportation and accommodation department. It will be an expensive trip but one that I know I will want to repeat in the future. Stay tuned!