Mazda began as a general manufacturing plant in Japan in 1920 called Toyo Cork Kogyo Company, but, due to low profits, they began to produce vehicles in the early ‘30s. Mazda's first car was a three-wheeled motorcycle truck called the Mazda-Go but marketed under the Japanese car brand Mitsubishi. In the ‘40s, Mazda redirected its energy toward producing weapons for the Japanese military until production was halted by the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.
After the war, Mazda continued production of its three-wheeled vehicle and exported to India and China. In the ‘60s, they expanded to produce their first two-door passenger car, and soon after they developed the first car with a rotary engine. They expanded to the United States in the early ‘70s and less than a decade later, Ford Motor company bought a 25% share in Mazda. Ford sold their share in 2008.
Mazda is currently the world's fifteenth most successful automaker. Mazda's most famous and popular model has been their MX-5 Miata, a lightweight two-door convertible, first introduced in 1989. Today, the company produces a variety of sedans, coupes, SUVs, and compact pickup trucks, along with its most recently designed Miata convertible. They are now working to produce lightweight and fuel efficient vehicles with redesigned “SKYACTIV” engines and transmissions.
Mazda Defects and Recalls
This section by no means represents a comprehensive list of manufacturing and operating malfunctions, and it is advisable to check for complete information on any recalls that may apply to your vehicle in order to quickly and safely address them. The following information, however, compiles some of the current common issues that Mazda owners may experience.
In August of 2016, Mazda recalled nearly 200,000 CX-7 SUVs manufactured between 2007-2012 due to a possible loss of steering. The issue stems from the potential for water to enter and corrode the front suspension ball-joint fittings. The water, which may carry salt from roads in cold weather areas could then cause the ball-joint to separate from the lower control arm, leading to loss of steering. Mazda says that it has received seven reports of such occurrences, but no injuries or accidents as of yet. The company will work on recalling vehicles from cold weather states first. They will make repairs free of charge and refund customers for previous repairs for this issue.
Rear Hatch Failure
Another recent potential safety issue in Mazda vehicles stems from salt corrosion as well. In certain models, salt from the road may corrode the two supports that hold up the reach hatch when it is propped open. In certain cases, the supports may totally fail, allowing the back hatch to fall on someone. Mazda has reported no accidents or injuries from the defect, but have recalled 759,000 vehicles to repair both lift supports. The affected vehicle models include certain 2010-2013 Mazda 3s, 2012-2015 Mazda 5s, 2013-2016 CX-5s, and 2016 CX-3s.
Variable Valve Timing Problems
In 2014, Mazda vehicle owners filed a class action lawsuit against the automaker due to an alleged issue with the Variable Valve Timing (VVT). Internal combustion, which occurs within the engine of a vehicle, requires the opening and closing of certain valves. The valves open to allow intake of air and fuel which is then compressed and combusted within the engine. They also open to allow the combustion gases to be released as emissions in the car. As technology has developed, the valve precision has improved to increase fuel economy and power and decrease emissions. VVT is the name of Mazda's technology used to control the valves within the engine.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit alleged that the VVT contained a defect which caused it to prematurely fail, leading to total engine failure. They also believe that Mazda had knowledge of this defect since November of 2007 and failed to make that knowledge public or even cover the repairs under their powertrain warranty, telling customers that they could not provide sufficient proof for regular oil changes. The lawsuit includes the MazdaSpeed 3, CX-7, MX-5,6, 3, and 5.
Most of the claims from the lawsuit were dismissed in February of 2016; however, outside of the lawsuit, continuing customer complaints have noted that their Mazda engines may emit a loud ticking or clacking sound when the vehicle starts. In addition, stretching of the timing chain may cause a rattling noise while the car is in motion. Minor problems with the VVT can turn into major repairs like oil leaks and total engine failure. Mazda has implemented a “Special Service Program” which extended the warranty for the VVT, but only under certain conditions for vehicle owners who could prove vehicle maintenance.
In November 2016, Mazda recalled 70,000 RX-8 models from 2004 to 2008 to repair a dangerous fuel pump problem. The rings that seal the fuel pump may crack due to high exhaust heat, allowing gasoline to leak into the car, posing a high risk of fire within the vehicle. In January of 2014, Mazda had told its customers that the cracked rings resulted from improper maintenance, but after many more complaints and instances of failure, they admitted a fault in design and issued the recall. Engineers will replace the fuel pump rings at no cost and add thermal insulation to prevent the issue from recurring.
Various Mazda vehicles were also involved in a huge series of recalls this year which encompassed 17 automakers who installed Japanese made Takata airbags inflators into around 42 million vehicles sold in the United States. Takata did not implement a particular drying agent or “desiccant” in the production of their airbags, which caused a degradation of the propellant. Over time, this can cause unintended and unsafe airbag explosion which can send shards of plastic shrapnel into the driver's face while the car is in operation.
The airbags have been linked to 13 deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide. Mazda recalled in total around 1.9 million vehicles around the world, including over 730,000 in the US alone. Seven Mazda models in the US have been recalled from between the model years 2003 to 2015
Representation for Colorado Personal Injury Victims
Car companies know how to preserve their integrity and good public image, often by downplaying or ignoring dangerous safety issues in their vehicles or by blaming customers for the car's malfunctions. They may assert that their automobiles are defect free, even when they are aware of a recurring issue because they have not yet been held responsible. If you or a loved one have experienced the fallout from a defective vehicle, you understand the stress and frustration of having something you rely on give you endless financial burdens and even physical pain. To start the process of holding automakers accountable for the products they insure with their brand name, call the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal today at (303) 852-2223 or contact us online.