Wouldn't the world be a better place if people could just admit when they'd done something wrong? Well, to our surprise, Mazda did just that at a recent preview of its new Mazda 6 sedan. Rather than spinning the numbers to make it look like the last Mazda 6 was a sales triumph, Mazda told us the truth. While its key competitors (Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Nissan Altima) sold more and more units, the Mazda's sales were flat. "One of its weaknesses was its size," said a senior vice president. The chief engineer admitted, "It was clear that we needed to improve wind and road noise." The R&D director acknowledged, "Our engines had worst-in-class displacement, output, and efficiency." All of those shortcomings aside, however, the biggest turnoff to customers was the 6's relative lack of quality.
The engineers working on the second-generation Mazda 6 had a clear goal: keep the sporty handling, but give the new sedan a big dose of power, room, and quality. And, boy, did they ever. The new 6 (which is 6.9 inches longer) looks two or three price classes more expensive than its predecessor.... Read full article