You are welcome to share your thoughts on this article written by Rochelle Fainstein, Digital Marketing Manager at Sterling Brands, New York
Recently, I had the chance to pop into the New York International Auto Show and I was particularly interested in taking a peek at the latest Electric Vehicles and Hybrid models. It was really great to finally have a look at the Nissan Leaf in person, and I have to say it’s a lot hotter when it’s not in the baby blue shades of the gallery shots on Nissan’s site. Admittedly, I was much more taken with the Nismo Racing version of the Leaf, with its lightning bolt paint job and the ability to go from 0-62mph in 6.85 seconds. I bet it’s kind of a fun drive.
But while the Leaf was a highlight for me, the rest of the players showed nothing surprising. Ford was there, touting an impressive 3 models with 40+ MPG, but we’ve heard about that. The sloped Civic Hybrid, the better-looking Crosstour, check, check. The Smart car represented in an amusing array of patterns and colors and it was comical to see large men explore the interior. Volkswagen was also there with its usual Clean Diesel stance.
And that’s when I ran into Mazda. Planted smack dab in the middle of all these players vying for hybrid mastery and visions of an electric future, Mazda proudly proclaimed in banners raised high that they are not interested in that competition. “Not Electric. Not a Hybrid. Not a Drag to Drive” was Mazda’s stance, and after a half-hour long discussion with Mazda representative, Duncan, I got an interesting explanation.
The long and short of it is that Mazda has always stood for performance and a fun to drive vehicle. While they recognize the importance of fuel efficiency, they’ve taken a different track and that is to improve the gasoline engine using their patented SkyActiv technology. The new Mazda 3 vehicle coming out this Fall will get 40mpgs and will service the consumer not yet willing to drop the gasoline habit.
From a profits perspective, it’s clearly a smart and ballsy move, capitalizing on a late majority still tied to the old ways. Taking a look at the long view, I’m inclined to believe this may hurt the Mazda reputation in regards to sustainability, though they’ve indicated partnership with Toyota for the development of future hybrid technology.
Either way, in the wash of ‘Green’, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Hybrid’ chatter, Mazda certainly is making some unique waves.
About the Author
Rochelle Fainstein is the Digital Marketing Manager for Sterling Brands and doubles as a market researcher and writer on special projects. She has worked professionally in PR, Marketing and Advertising since 2003.
Sterling Brands is a brand strategy and package design firm, founded in 1992 and boasting an all-star roster including design guru Debbie Millman and innovation rockstar DeeDee Gordon. For more information, follow us on Facebook, @sterlingbrands on Twitter, or on the Sterling Brands blog.