Currently reading: Mazda 'must match VW quality'
“If you sit in a Volkswagen Polo you get a really good sense of quality,” says Kia's design boss

The perceived quality of Mazda's interiors is an area the company would most like to improve, according to chief designer at Mazda’s R&D centre, Peter Birtwhistle.

“If you sit in a Volkswagen Polo you get a really good sense of quality,” he said.

Mazda hopes to raise its standards to that of the VW, but did comment that its pricing would be affected.

“Using better materials of course means that prices may rise slightly and we must balance that without compromising our position in the market as a value brand,” Birtwhistle continued.

The revised Mazda 2, launched earlier this month, has been criticised for its interior finishRead Autocar's first drive of the revised Mazda 2.

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Eric van Spelde 25 November 2010

Re: Mazda 'must match VW quality'

Must say I'm with the Italians on this one - 'when a beautiful car breaks, you can repair it. An ugly car remains ugly.' And as I spend more time inside the car than looking at it, something that doesn't look and feel like a 1980's stereo 'stack' from Comet inside does hold a certain appeal.

There's enough indifference and mediocrity in design and materials surrounding us in our throwaway society already, and I would gladly trade most of the 'kit' that consumer peer pressure prescribes as 'must have' items today for a minimalist approach with a bit of genuine visual and tactile appeal.

Look at high-end hifi equipment versus aforementioned stack system for an analogy - the only thing you can do with it is switch it on and adjust the volume, but - apart from being functionally superior in terms of doing less harm to the musical content it is being asked to reproduce - it eschews moulded plastic and flashing graphics for stainless steel, cast alloy, real woods and perspex in shapes that are functional yet interesting.

And if it breaks, I'll gladly repair it or have it fixed rather than throw it in the bin...

Los Angeles 19 November 2010

Re: Mazda 'must match VW quality'

ischiaragazzo wrote:
I would prefer something that didn't fall to bits rather than something that looks good and does fall to bits

That would be helpful.

There's excellent, good and bad plastic qualities, fitting them together well another matter. When Bakalite first appeared - an early plastic - it was considered cheap and cheerful material for the masses, preformed easily, not what a real radio or gramophone, for example, ought to be made of. Real domestic luxuries were made of things such a mahogany and brass, car dashes also of wood and metal.

Today, some companies (Fiat 500) incorporate plastic made to look like Bakalite into a car's dash to give it a period look. So much appreciated is Bakalite currently early radios made of it fetch high prices. The cabins of 1970s and 1980s cars were usually made of cheap brittle plastic giving plastic a bad name that lingers to this day.

I am reminded of the delightful key elements in my TVR LE Griffith's cabin fashioned in beautiful solid billet aluminium accentuating the swathes of black leather. Now almost every car manufacturer reaches for that look but more often with molded, silver covered plastic.

Good aesthetics have a lot to do with perceived quality; how one edge fits against another, how one type of plastic and its colour helps the transition from one surface to another, how one surface texture relates to another surface, what depth of black a quality of plastic holds, that sort of thing.

(That's enough anorak aesthetics! - Editor)

Webby39 19 November 2010

Re: Mazda 'must match VW quality'

gavsmit wrote:

I bought a brand new Mazda MX5 Cabriolet Coupe Sport which was the worst car I've ever owned in over 20 years of driving.

The car creaked and leaked so after 6 weeks it went to my local Mazda dealership to get looked at - they fixed nothing but washed it covering it in scratches. A battle with the dealerships and Mazda themselves went on for months, with the car spending more time with them than me, as well as it breaking down twice and the hood malfunctioning, that ended with me having to get rid of it for a great financial loss. Some 'once in a lifetime' treat!

I can't understand why magazines seem to think Mazda is a good make - mine was the worst car / ownership experience I've ever had, and I'm not alone after asking others.

Forget the high quality interiors - how about improving the quality of your customer service Mazda?

I have to say my Mk1 MX5 is absolutely not as you describe, the car is faultless although now old in age. The mechanicals have only ever been 100% robust from new, so maybe you had a lemon or the quality control has worsened with time?

As for perceived quality, give me a well engineered car anyday, I don't particualrly care if the dash is soft to the touch etc!