Mazda’s GE crop

1 year ago


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The 1980s: Mazda starts getting ideas above its station on beating Toyota with multiple brands. It was best seen with what it did with its GE platform

Mazda believed it could beat the big names with multiple divisions. Casting off the old Capella name, and going wider than 1,700 mm were its first move. The Cronos was a good car—but Mazda didn’t make it available through all its sales’ channels.
Efini, officially ɛ̃fini, and pronounced infini (got it?) fielded the MS-6 in Japan—626 liftback for export. Like the 1991 Cronos, it didn’t do that well in Japan, and was killed off by 1994 there, Mazda’s multi-brand strategy a failure.
The third model we all knew, the MX-6, lasted only one more year in Japan, to 1995, as the company reeled in its ambitions, which had included a Lexus-challenging luxury division called Amati. The MX-6 ran till 1997 internationally.
Yet another new division with no goodwill prior to 1992, Eunos sold its 500 (Xedos 6 in some countries). Built to a higher quality than the Cronos, it was on the same platform. Looked like an updated Jaguar at the time, and deserved to do better.
Efini’s MS-8 was another Cronos-based niche model, this time a hardtop replacing the old Persona. Again it was only available through select dealers, and buyers just couldn’t be bothered figuring out which ones.
Of course, Mazda wasn’t the only brand at play here. Back then, Ford sold badge-engineered Mazdas, and the Cronos and MS-6 made up the Telstar range. Reasonably successful outside Japan, namely in Australia and South Africa.
The other Ford model looked a lot different: the Mk II Probe was a decent car that was built alongside the MX-6 at Flat Rock, Michigan. A new Capri it wasn’t, and Americans leaned toward the new 1994 Mustang during its run.
The GE story doesn’t end there: in 1995, Kia launched the Credos, on the same platform. The last of the GE cars was built till 2000, and it was considered a decent handler. But Kia’s independence was waning, and by 1998 it was part of Hyundai.

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