Mazda, the little car company that could, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Along its century-long journey, the Hiroshima, Japan-based company has established milestones that no other car company has: series production of the Wankel rotary engine, becoming the first Japanese marque to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, reviving the classic British roadster with Japanese characteristics, and pointing the way to the future of the gasoline combustion engine.
Mazda certainly hasn’t been resting on its laurels. As it celebrates its centenary, Mazda has recently been recognized by multiple world bodies for its class-leading designs.
The Mazda3, particularly in its hatchback variant, is a genuine head-turner. The beady-eyed front makes the car look purposeful, and the integration of the rear doors into the rear hatch section gives it a seamless solidity. The judges at the World Car Awards agree, awarding the Mazda3 the 2020 World Car Design of the Year award.
The Mazda3 was the first of the cars to carry the brand’s updated Kodo-Soul of Motion styling language. Mazda calls it “a more mature rendition targeting greater styling prestige through the elegance and rigor of a minimalist, less-is-more aesthetic inspired by the purest traditions of Japanese art and the beauty of space between objects.”
A visit to Mazda headquarters allowed us a glimpse into their design process. Mazda evidently exerts utmost effort into its car designs. For instance, stylists use full-size clay models before finalizing the design. This is not just to honor the traditional method of using clay. Having a full-size model allows the company’s artists to hone subtle details in the future car’s body. When you observe the complex curves in the Mazda3, in the door panels for instance, the results speak for themselves. Mazda’s goal of producing car that double as rolling art is attained.
The Mazda3 is the second Mazda to earn the World Car Design of the Year accolade. The Mazda MX-5 also won in 2016 (as well as the World Car of the Year award). The World Car Award jury is comprised of 86 automotive journalists from 25 countries.
Another pair of Mazda vehicles won design awards, this time its SUVs—the CX-30 and MX-30. The two were recognized in the Red Dot: Product Design 2020 awards.
The CX-30 follows in the styling tire tracks of the Mazda3, with an organic, harmonious design not usually seen in crossovers and SUVs. These usually gravitate towards a chunkier, rougher aesthetic.
“When we set out to make the Mazda CX-30 available in the Philippines last year, we knew it would set the new standard of beauty in the crossover market,” shares Steven Tan, president and CEO of Mazda Philippines. “With the Red Dot: Product Design 2020 recognition, our customers can be sure that with the CX-30, they are getting the best of design and functionality in an excellent package that is globally recognized for its superior quality.”
Mazda CX-30 is currently available in three variants that provide varying levels of equipment and versatility to Filipino consumers.
Launched at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, the Mazda MX-30 is the brand’s first battery electric vehicle. Already available to order in Europe, the MX-30 uses a more modern approach to Kodo design. Mazda says that aims to project lightness, and for the interior, sustainability in material use. The MX-30 features hidden rear-hinged doors that allow easier access to the rear seats while preserving the MX-30’s coupe-like profile.
The two new awards are the eighth and ninth Red Dot awards given for Mazda’s Kodo designs. Previous nods were to the the all-new Mazda3 in 2019, the MX-5 RF in 2017, the MX-5 soft top, the CX-3 and the Mazda2 in 2015, and the previous generation Mazda3 back in 2014 and the 2013 Mazda6.
“The winners of the Red Dot Award have proved that they have created excellent products worthy of winning an award,” says professor Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of Red Dot. “The products won over the jury not only through their aesthetics, but also thanks to their incomparable functionality. With their designs, the award winners are setting new standards in their industry.”