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Old 6th June 2013, 22:35   #2746
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Are you sure? I have never seen an Accord or Civic as rental anywhere.
Yep I have seen Accord at the local Enterprise office in LA.
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Old 6th June 2013, 22:43   #2747
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

I had a Mazda 3 as a rental for a while. It was a nice peppy car, although it was the lowest trim, so it didnt have any creature comforts.

Companies like Toyota, Honda, Ford and Subaru (in the hills!) have well established legacies in one form or other which has been engraved on the consumer psyche. Toyota and Honda have established themselves as symbols of efficiency and reliability and Ford is seen as a true "american" brand (no matter where it actually manufactures its cars or trucks)

Mazda tried with its unique engine but failed because of reliability issues.

Similarly Nissan has nothing as its USP.

To generate huge sales numbers, brand recall has to be very high. And these companies only come in as an afterthought to an average new car buyer.
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Old 6th June 2013, 22:49   #2748
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Wow! Pretty awesome discussion. Looks like I opened a Hornet's nest. I like Mazda cars and that is why I raised this question.

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Originally Posted by ToroRosso View Post
Very good topic chev, i have wondered as well.Could be due to the perceived "lack of engine longevity" as opposed to a Camary/Accord or an Altima. I have never come across a lot of Mazda 6 owners in any forums boasting of 200K+ mileage.

As a Mazda 6 owner, one of the reasons I can come up with is the ridiculous gas mileage. I am getting 21-22 mpg in my car where as my Truck over the same route gives me 16-17 mpg .
Before 2010, Mazda did have a bad image of reliability, not so good interior quality and not being fuel efficient while being sporty (compared to other cars in same segment). After they parted ways with Ford, i think they have improved a lot. But it will take atleast 7-10 years before they are talked about in same breath as Accord and Camry as that is how long it will take for new engines to prove their reliability.

As for FE, it would really depend on how you drive. May be with Mazda6, you are flogging the car a lot more than the truck since the 6 will be much more FTD. Just my 2 cents. You are the best judge of your driving.


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Originally Posted by vineethvazhayil View Post
There are more reasons in my view. Mazda is a small manufacturer - they have lesser production volumes, lesser number of dealers, lesser marketing and sales budget and smaller everything else. Most of the dealers are in the big metro areas - they just don't have the same reach as a Toyota or a Honda. Also the traditional image of Mazda is more for sporty and fun as compared to a other Japanese manufacturers.

Let's assume there was demand for 30k Mazda 6s a month, will Mazda even be able to fulfill that demand?
I agree and i don't expect them to do 30k-40k that Accord and Camry does. But i expect atleast 20k or so considering they provide to rental companies too and are awesome to drive. I can give Mazda3 a miss for now since it will be replaced next year. Hope it does 1 better than new corolla.

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Originally Posted by VIPER_SRT View Post
Many brands like Jag, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Volvo didn't do good under Ford leadership and Mazda was one of them till 2010. Its brand image end of the day and Mazda doesn't have a flagship model or "the" performance car to boast around except a FWD Mazdaspeed3 with enough understeer. Mazda is a decent brand and the campaign zoom-zoom worked well but there's more to be done.
If we are to consider a flagship model based on pricing alone, then it will be CX-9 which can go upto $40K MSRP. If it will be Sedan then it will be Mazda6. The problem is, they didn't have a halo car before and even now.

Lets see, if i want to be reminded of what Honda is capable of, i will think - NSX or S2000. For Toyota - Probably a Supra, Celica or LF-A. Even Hyundai has a halo car in name of Genesis and Equus. What about Mazda - Nothing, Probably RX-8 or RX-7?

They do need to spend more in marketing their image with ads and car models.

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Originally Posted by Jomz View Post
Mazda had the RX8 till recently. That was Mazda's flagship car.


I think it compared well with other flagships (Mustangs, s2000, 350Z, etc). There were issues with realiablity and Mpg of course.

Miata still has a cult following.
I do believe Mazda has more sportscars in their lineup than Honda.
I would not consider RX-8 as a flagship car. It didn't evoke any feelings like S2000/370Z/Mustangs do. Miata is great but still they should have expanded that model so that it could compete with other powerful cars in $30k+ range.

Right now, Mazda's line up looks better than Honda but Honda is laughing all the way to the bank with sales.

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Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
Another thing to note is that Toyota does rental fleet sales which Honda doesn't & neither does Mazda as far as i Know.

More than anything IMO its the brand recognition which is not letting then increase their sales. I guess if they keep making good cars & do good marketing, the sales should improve over time.
I have thought about this. Toyota has higher fleet sales compared to Honda and Mazda. But its not like Honda and Mazda don't provide it. It is there say around 5% compared to 15-20% of Toyota, GM, Ford.

I really hope Mazda's sale improve but for that they need to do something out of box or follow what Toyota and Honda did.

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Originally Posted by kraft.wagen View Post
Interesting topic chev, I read a few days/weeks ago in another auto site(don't remember where) that Mazda was happy with their sales on CX5s. The site quoted something like, what Mazda feels Good is just alright when compared to other auto makers!

May be its in the company philosophy itself, they are just not being aggressive enough. Could be due to their low production capacity here?
Yes, low production capacity and limited models will impact their image. I think they are manufacturing all their cars in Japan now.

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Originally Posted by VIPER_SRT View Post

I still feel Mazda doesn't have a successful sports car or I would say a super car under their belt like Honda S2000, Acura NSX, Toyota Supra and F86, Nissan GTR, Subaru WRX STI, Mitsubishi EVO. All these cars were a huge success and speaks for their brand.

Media to blame?
I agree. That's what i said above. Each of the other brands have a halo car that teenagers, adults can relate to and dream of owning it. There is nothing in Mazda's stable that would want them put a poster of in their room.

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Originally Posted by vineethvazhayil View Post
I don't think we can call the RX8 a flagship. I mean of course it is a fun little car - but does it really qualify to be the identifier for the brand - perhaps no - especially with the quirky looks and very high maintenance requirements. It does have the cool Wankel engine and an astronomical 9k RPM redline and a very fun to drive chassis. Perhaps Mazda should do a coupe and roadster of the next gen Miata - make the appeal more broader - compete on a more level terms with the GT86/FRS/BRZ. Who knows, if they make a scalable platform, they can even make a cheap small RWD sedan and price it under 30k?
Full on agree. I did consider RX-8 once, but quickly removed off my list. They should have increased models based on Miata. Introduce more powerful once to take on BRZ/FRS and also hunt 370Z in $35k range.

Last edited by chevelle : 6th June 2013 at 22:57.
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Old 7th June 2013, 00:13   #2749
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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As for FE, it would really depend on how you drive.
Hmm.I never use the Auto mode and always use the Manual Shift in my Mazda, I had a 2013 Jeep Wrangler with me for 2 weeks, it was stick shift and it gave me almost near identical mileage to my Mazda.

Thats what i love about my truck, highway or city it gives me the same
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Old 8th June 2013, 08:36   #2750
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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It is interesting how many states give you the final license after a few days via mail. Is it just NJ where they give you the License the same day?
Connecticut has one of the most painful processes to get a DL. And most expensive one too. Attend course, written test, behind the wheel test (where you cannot take a rental car) etc.
But,
- You get the DL instantly. They print it then and there
- You get a 7 year valid DL. They dont care a damn about visa expiry etc.
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Old 8th June 2013, 10:29   #2751
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- You get a 7 year valid DL. They dont care a damn about visa expiry etc.
That's interesting and very convenient. Both Kansas and Missouri put the expiration date of our Visa on our driver's license.

By the way, some procedure here in Delhi, India. My Indian DL expires on the same day as my Visa. Already renewed both once.

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Old 8th June 2013, 10:33   #2752
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Are you sure? I have never seen an Accord or Civic as rental anywhere.
In my last US trip, I rented an Accord for 2 weeks and my colleague was using a rental Civic for 2 months.

Civic and Accord are quite common rental cars in CA.
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Old 9th June 2013, 11:48   #2753
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Originally Posted by Fountainheader View Post
Connecticut has one of the most painful processes to get a DL. And most expensive one too. Attend course, written test, behind the wheel test (where you cannot take a rental car) etc.
But,
- You get the DL instantly. They print it then and there
- You get a 7 year valid DL. They dont care a damn about visa expiry etc.
Looks like it is different now. Not required to attend any course, written test is online, I used rental car for driving test, my DL came in post and it is valid till my visa expiry date.
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Old 10th June 2013, 21:51   #2754
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

To my astonishment, I read in one of the latest Forbes magazines that Mazda's total market value is even lesser than Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra's. This adds up to the 'niche player' point.
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Old 10th June 2013, 23:55   #2755
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Hey Everyone,

Finally we were able to register my wife's car in CA.

Once the car arrived from TX, we did the following -

1. From DMV website, downloaded and filled the forms REG 343 - Application for Title/Registration and REG 256 - Statement of Facts.
2. Got the car smog certified.
3. Booked appointment with DMV office.
4. Showed the vehicle to a DMV officer for VIN verification. This official will check the car and give you a completed & signed certificate (sorry, I don't exactly remember the name of this certificate).
5. The above mentioned certificate along with forms 343, 256, smog certificate, vehicle original title, insurance copy, TX license plates were submitted to another official inside DMV office.
6. Paid state tax of $207 and $32 for DL.
7. Got new CA license plate once the above items were accepted.
8. The DMV official gave temporary title and DL and we should be receiving the original CA title and DL card through mail in 1-2 weeks.

My wife also had to pass the written test for getting CA DL because once you become a resident, you need to have CA license.

Despite waiting in queue in DMV office for 4 hours, everything was smooth and we were able to complete car registration and DL test in a single day.

I've read that the state is losing huge amount in state tax when out of state cars run in CA. Since we did the vehicle registration on the same day the car arrived from TX, the DMV official was happy & cooperative.

-- Jose
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Old 11th June 2013, 00:08   #2756
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America


Did you get the plates on the same day? I remember I got a mail saying my plates were ready and then I went to DMV(again) to get it.

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7. Got new CA license plate once the above items were accepted.

Last edited by kraft.wagen : 11th June 2013 at 00:10.
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Old 11th June 2013, 00:26   #2757
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Did you get the plates on the same day? I remember I got a mail saying my plates were ready and then I went to DMV(again) to get it.
I got the license plate at the same time I surrendered the old plates. They have plates stocked in the office and will give you one from the stock.
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Old 11th June 2013, 11:12   #2758
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I got the license plate at the same time I surrendered the old plates. They have plates stocked in the office and will give you one from the stock.
I remember both in Kansas and Missouri we got the plates at the DMV office. Very convenient.

The waiting time at DMC offices can be monumental. DMV employees are easily amongst the most hated individuals in the US. Everybody hates them, everybody hates the DMV. The DMV offices in Kansas and Missouri were old and run down. Old furniture, barely holding up, outdated computer systems etc.

I have this little theory why they dont improve. Americans don't like to pay taxes. And certainly not if the money goes to civil servants. Any politician that puts money towards the DMV won't get re-elected. Its a sort of catch 22. Everybody hates them with a vengeance, everybody thinks they are hugely ineffecient, but nobodys want to pay any money towards them. So everybody girts their teeth, waits for hours and then bitches about it.

By sheer coincidence when I called the KS DMV I happened to be helped by a Dutch lady. She immediately recognized my name as very Dutch and started chatting in Dutch. She was married to an American and had moved to the USA years earlier. She was very pleasant and informative. Exception rather than the rule if the DMV horror stories on the net are all true.

Jeroen
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Old 11th June 2013, 22:04   #2759
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

On the the topic of Long waiting in DMV offices, I have observed that going on a Wednesday helps, as most people try to either visit on Weekends or on Monday/Friday. Wednesdays are pretty relaxed comparatively.

Ofcourse taking day or time during mid-week might not be possible always.
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Old 11th June 2013, 22:30   #2760
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First Impressions - Chevrolet Equinox LT

Got Equinox as a rental yesterday and did approx 250 miles. Thought to pen down some impressions from this drive.

The one i had was pretty decently loaded. Outside looks good with good fit and finish and good paint quality. I have always liked how Equinox looks and that hasn't changed for 2013. Inside too the fit and finish is great.

Interior is a decent place to be. Red stitches can be found on seats and door trims. The plastic used is hard everywhere. Since it was a base model, i thought it will be poorly equipped. But i was surprised. I found full smartphone integration, MyLink, USB, Aux, ACC, Rear View Camera, Bluetooth and even Navigation. I think it was 1LT. Pretty loaded i would say. The MyLink is many times better than Ford Sync.

The seats were comfortable and cargo space was ok. Nothing major. I thought it would be good enough for 4 big bags but had to put them on top of each other for proper fit. The protruding wheel cover takes up lots of space.

Lots of storage space everywhere. That is what i appreciate coming off G35.

Since it was very windy yesterday, it was not a pleasant experience for all. It did shook a lot and i had to correct every time. The steering is good at low speeds - very light. I was hoping it would be firm at freeway speeds but its still the same and devoid of any feedback.

I don't know if it was equipped with a 2.4L or 3.6L. Either ways acceleration was strictly ok from this porky SUV. The ride was composed, it was quiet too even though it was windy outside. No wind noise or road noise. Highway ride was comfortable. Visibility was ok, have to be very cautious about surroundings.

90% of 250 miles was freeway. I averaged 24 mpg so if it was a 2.4L 4-Cylinder, couldn't match highway figures. But if it was a 3.0L V6, i probably did.

The biggest drawback i found was high placement of brake pedal. It caused me lot of discomfort and chances are it could be a deal breaker for me.

Overall, its a great effort by GM. They still need to improve it a little and it will be a great competitor. For $30k, i would say there are little better options out there but do give Equinox a try. You will be surprised.
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