The Struggle For Mazda's Soul

Is the carmaker mapping its U.S. recovery plan--or is Ford?

Just five years ago, Mazda Motor of America Inc. was on a roll. Dizzy with the instant success of its Miata and flush with new products, the U.S. unit of Mazda Motor Corp. believed it could finally take on the Japanese Big Three--Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. No matter that Mazda had always ranked a distant fourth in the U.S., with some 3% of the market. The company was moving up fast. Mazda had even planned a luxury brand, Amati, to compete with Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus and Nissan Motor Co.'s Infiniti.

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