2012 Mazda 3: Design by Exchange Rate
December 21, 2011
When I look around at the interior of the Mazda 3, I dont see design. Instead I see the state of the currency exchange rate between the Japanese yen and the American dollar, currently 77Y to $1.
For years Japanese car-makers have dreaded the declining value of the dollar because it cuts into the profit margin of the manufacturing process in Japan. It was an exchange rate of 80Y/$1 which everyone feared, a level that then was considered catastrophic. Toyota began to prepare for this more than a decade ago (as did Volkswagen), and now every Japanese and European manufacturer is doing the same. Even so, Toyota has recently admitted that it cant make a profit on Japanese-built subcompacts like the Yaris at the current exchange rate.
You can see the evidence of the same issue in the Mazda 3s interior.
Once youre behind the steering wheel and take a look around the Mazda 3s cabin, you find places where things dont look quite right. Sometimes its the materials, sometimes its the architecture, and sometimes its simply the color. These are places where money is being saved. And whenever you make similar observations in other cars, youre seeing evidence of the same issues.
Its kind of a miracle that the Mazda 3 has been improved in so many respects considering the circumstances. You cant just make cars for free, you know.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com