“If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mazda Recalls Demio, Among Others

Just a few days ago, a report went out about Mazda Motor Corp. recalling three of their passenger cars because as it turns out, they all have computer defects. One of these three Mazda cars is the Demio, which was also sold as the Mazda 121, Mazda Metro, Mazda 2 and Ford Festiva Mini Wagon. The name rings a bell, right? That is because the third generation of this model was named 2008 World Car of the Year title. It bested out other nominees such as the Audi A5, Audi R8, Cadillac CTS, Ford S-Max, and, what in my personal opinion is the best among the nominees (including the Demio), the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Can automotive journalists still recall their votes? I don’t’ think so. They should have done a more thorough job, instead of relying on figures.

Almost a million Demios have been sold ever since its introduction. And now, according to the transport ministry almost a quarter of this is being recalled. Granted that all of those produced in between March 2005 and October 2007 has not been sold, the sheer number of those with computer defects is alarming. After what I have learned, I will never buy a Mazda in the future. Not that I am planning on buying one because I am not a Mazda-type of guy. But I know a friend who owns a Mazda and if he hears about this, I’m sure the guy at the dealership will have his hands full. And the bad part is, the program defect in the ECU affects the braking distance of the vehicle. It may not be a problem if the owner has already adapted to it. However, what about the first-time users of the Demio? The safety of customers is the one compromised here. Mazda owners need more from the automaker than just an action to recall the vehicles. They need assurance that this does not happen again ever. Extensive road-testing must be done before any vehicle comes out in production. That is, like auto-making 101. People expect them not to make this kind of rookie mistake.