Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


In Gear

Mazda cars losing weight? Try 220 pounds.

Mazda wants to eliminate 220 pounds every time it redesigns one of its models, an important step in meeting fuel economy and emission regulations? How will Mazda get it done?

By Antony IngramGuest blogger / August 8, 2012

The Mazda CX-5 is unveiled at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles in this November 2011 file photo. Mazda ants to eliminate 220 pounds of weight every time it re-designs one of its models.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/File

Enlarge

While all automakers realise the benefits of making their cars lighter, it's only been relatively recently that some models have actually weighed less than their predecessors.

Skip to next paragraph

The website focuses on the auto industry’s future, the evolution of cars beyond fossil fuels, and the green movement's relevance to car shoppers today. For more stories on green cars, click here.

Recent posts

Demands for safety, equipment, larger engines, more comfort and more space have pushed vehicle weight up so far that some cars are fifty percent heavier than their equivalent from 20 years ago.

Mazda started reversing this trend several years ago, and now it's making a bold statement: it wants to eliminate 220 pounds of weight every time it re-designs one of its models.

That will obviously become increasingly difficult with each new generation, but it's a realistic proposition for at least the next couple, and Mazda sees it as an important step in meeting fuel economy and emissions regulations.

Speaking with Automotive News, Mazda vehicle development engineer Dave Coleman explained that Mazda "focused so much on the low-hanging fruit that we still have a lot of room."

That suggests that Mazda's current techniques, such as ensuring every nut and bolt it a little lighter than before, and preventing weight from climbing too much--the MX-5 Miata sports car has only increased around 15 percent in over two decades, much less than the norm--are only the start.

Use of high-strength steel, and using less steel where strength isn't an issue, is another technique Mazda has used and will continue to use to reduce weight.

Vehicle downsizing may be another option. The current Mazda2 is smaller and over 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor, which wasn't sold in the U.S.

Materials technology may also play a part. The MX-5 has always used an aluminum hood to ensure a large, usually-heavy part weighs less, and it's possible that aluminum and carbon fiber will play a larger part, as more widespread use brings down the cost. BMW agrees, and is set to use more aluminum in future models.

As we already know, reducing weight is a virtuous circle too, enabling manufacturers to fit smaller, lighter, more economical engines without sacrificing the performance that buyers desire.

Mazda may not be able to keep up the 220-pound fat-fighting for too long, but you can be sure that the next generation of Mazdas will be considerably lighter than the last.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!