Mazda CX-5 Stops Loving Truffula Trees, Starts Hating Electric-Cars

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2013 Mazda CX-5

2013 Mazda CX-5

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Automakers love to take automotive journalists somewhere exotic for the official launch of a new car, usually somewhere hot and sunny. 

So when Mazda announced its European launch of the 2013 CX-5 compact crossover SUV would take place in the rugged, rural landscape of Highland Scotland, we assumed it was to highlight its go-anywhere aspirations. 

But as noted yesterday, the rural location enabled Mazda to do something else: make fun of electric cars. 

Fake road signs

“Fake road signs were planted on surrounding verges cautioning motorists about ‘EV drivers hitchhiking’”, wrote TheChargingPoint. “Another sign jibed that the ‘next charging point was 225 miles away’”, it continued.

Thanks to its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder SkyActiv engine the 2013 Mazda CX-5 2WD with six-speed automatic gearbox can manage 26 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined, giving it one of the better gas mileages in the compact crossover segment. 

Schoolyard prank?

But rather than turn its attention to beating competition from cars like the 2013 Ford Escape and 2013 Honda CR-V, Mazda seems to have taken the easy route, taking a pot-shot at electric cars. 

Cars, which we hasten to add, do not compete in any way with the CX-5’s crossover SUV segment.

2013 Mazda CX-5

2013 Mazda CX-5

Enlarge Photo

The only explanation for this schoolyard prank?

We suspect someone at Mazda thought it would be a fun, inside-baseball joke for its guests; dealers and automotive journalists who have yet to be convinced that electric cars have a future. 

Regardless of its humorous intent, we presume that the signs -- visible on public roads -- may have been seen by members of the public who were less aware of Mazda's in-joke.

A seedy underside...

Sadly for Mazda, while its jokes about range anxiety probably won it some chuckles from electric-car cynics, its latest attempt to publicize the 2013 Mazda CX-5 does nothing to the company reputation. 

Earlier this year, Mazda came under severe criticism from parental groups across the U.S. when it was reported that it had marketed its crossover SUV to junior school children as part of a movie deal with Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax.

Its decision to make fun of a car that doesn’t even compete with the CX-5 is, at best, poor judgement. At worst, it makes the company seem like a 5th grade bully. 

...or really scared?

But as most parents will tell their kids, bullies pick on kids because they are either jealous, or secretly fear the victim is smarter or better than they are. 

2013 Mazda CX-5

2013 Mazda CX-5

Enlarge Photo

In this case, we can’t help but wonder if Mazda, without an electric car to its name, is starting to feel a little left out in a world where most of its competitors are designing and building electric cars. 

Why do you think Mazda decided to pick on electric cars? Should it have? And has it damaged Mazda’s reputation? 

Let us known your thoughts in the Comments below. 


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Comments (16)
  1. I am surprised that people feel the need to attack electric cars. If they don't really work and provide value, then they will likely fade away on their own without people criticizing them. They are "harmless."

    So I do feel that some people just feel threatened by the fact that they do work and might change expectations of what reasonable commuting looks like.

    I long for the simpler days of Zoom Zoom advertising.

  2. I think Mazda is green with envy because they are not smart enough to design an electric car and they are still a runt with ICE, and their stupidity will wreck havoc with their sells, and if they ever do come out with an EV, no one will probably buy it because they will not trust it. Someone should tell them to go and talk to GM, they don't have an EV either and look how poorly their sales are. There are somethings that an automaker shouldn't do in the auto world and Mazda is now doing what they shouldn't do.

  3. I have been directed to your post as someone who has been on the launch mentioned. Unfortunately you have got it rather wrong.
    Firstly the event was for UK media only, secondly the point Mazda is making is that EVs and hybrids are for the future when they are usable - for EVs - and when the base ICE power unit is more efficient for Hybrids. They were not attacking EVs, in fact they made the point that the technology was very clever, and they have a Mazda2 EV in Japan.
    The presentation stated that now was not the time for EV or hybrid, but this technology has been developed by Mazda in Japan and there will be a gradual introduction of electrification of cars moving forward.
    The reason for 'now is not the time' is the increase in EVs globally is slow, they have not been popular in the UK and the UK government is now taxing the cars at 13% rather than 0%. On hybrid tax has gone from 5% to 13% and the repurchase rate is less than 35%. The reality of hybrids is that these are based on old technology engines that in real world use emit high amounts of CO2.
    Surely better to improve the base petrol or diesel engine and then bolt on a hybrid and develop the EV to a point where it is usable - that was the message.

  4. "They were not attacking EVs" but they said "Now is not the time".
    So which one is it? Sounds an anti-EV bias to me - and clearly every everyone else here.

  5. I think you need to read the whole sentence rather than the bit that suits your argument. "they are not attacking EVs, but they said now is not the time, in fact they made the point that the technology was very clever and have a Mazda2 EV in Japan" - a company that has developed an EV would not appear to have an anti EV bias. The point is that EVs are just not usable outside of cities and short repetitive commutes, that is a fact until the technology is developed to the point where range, charging time and weight can be developed to be more usable. EV is not the only way to a sustainable future and developing the ICE is just another alternative to get there, all options emit CO2, just depends where the CO2 is emitted from.

  6. Those who refuse to support an electric future will soon join the ranks of the dinosaurs.

    Sarcasm and cynicism is a last-ditch attempt at humour by big corps and OIlCo to sway the public back to oil. Will joe public be conned once again...or will we see past the smoke-screens and mirrors, to a clean, clear future? Stay tuned for the exciting development of Planet Earth!

  7. I know my Prius Plug in Hybrid well. Other hybrids, not so well. The Prius PHV is dependable, comfortable, economical (110 mpg so far) and is even more flexible and useful than the '06 Prius which it replaces. This is certainly an timely car for me. Mazda can advertise that its cars are not up to date, but I cannot see how that will help them.

  8. Some interesting comments on here, but misguided. Given that in the 2007 dust to dust survey the Prius was proven to be less environmentally friendly than a Hummer and the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership recently found that EVs emit just 0.9 of a tonne less CO2 than a similar sized petrol car due to energy required to make the batteries. In fact, given that electric cars need the batteries replaced after a few yeas the CO2 emissions in producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes versus just 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal of batteries produces twice the CO2 of petrol cars due to energy consummed in recovering and recycling the metal in the batterie, surely improving fuel consumption and CO2 of ICE cars is the way forward?

  9. @Simon: First, the notorious CNW Prius v HUMMER study has been widely refuted f/shoddy methodology. See here:

    Second, the carbon footprint of electric cars varies widely with the cleanliness of the grid that charges them. California will likely buy more electric cars than the next 5 U.S. states put together; its grid is quite clean--so the carbon balance is decisively in favor of electric. Not so for the dirtier coal-based grids of many European countries (except France).

    Finally, no evidence exists that electrics will need batteries replaced "after a few years." They may or may not; we'll see.

  10. Simon Bishop:

    You look rather foolish for not fact-checking before posting long-disproved falsehoods.

    1) as John Voelcker mentions, the CNW Hummer study was a total marketing lie. CNW Marketing is no research organization. They did marketing work for GM-- Before GM declared bankruptcy in 2009.

    2) Hybrid batteries are FULLY RECYCLABLE. Ever since the Prius went on sale in 1997, Toyota has ALWAYS offered a $200US bounty for anyone who returns a Toyota hybrid battery pack for recycling. It costs Toyota less to recycle an HV battery than to build one from the ground up.

  11. I was at this event as an auto journalist. You're reporting second-hand from another website and missing what they actually wrote, then getting yourselves wound up. This was an event for UK media and the UK Mazda guys used some British humour to make a point that EVs are not yet their way, they're improving current technology first while developing hybrid and EV technology for the future. We already know the British sense of humour doesn't translate to the US - UK TV comedy hits have flopped in US...and vice versa. And before jou say this is no joking matter, the UK media like to lighten up sometimes and those at the event took the point in the context it was made and have been reporting Mazda's stance and future plans accurately.

  12. Between yours and Terry Green's comments it would appear there is some serious damage control going on from the side of mazda or it's fans/dealers....Still, the facts seem to speak for themselves and indicate a rather immature attitude from Mazda towards a technology they are lagging behind in.

  13. I'm amazed how people hate to get what they want, but not in the way they want it.

    In 15 yrs, 95%+ of cars will still use ICEs. Mazda is improving them, but the response is: "Oh, no! You are reducing ALL your vehicles' consumption by 30% by 2015 instead of focusing on a tech that won't sell in appreciable quantities," or "You are selling the most efficient SUV on the market--how dare you think it's acceptable to call that a 'green' strategy!"

    Mazda's message is they have a product NOW that solves people's real needs and is a big improvement and is still affordable. But EVs--still only a niche player--grab the headlines. The signs' message is quite clear: There are other solutions than EVs. Pay attention to all of them.

  14. I think Mazda is actually doing a great job in making ICEs more economical. It's like making a dinosaur jump through hoops, pretty astounding. Too bad Mazda spoils it a bit by suggesting to desperately cling on to their beloved dinosaurs with this derisive attitude towards what I firmly believe will turn out to be the next step in automotive evolution.

  15. Mazda looked at the investment needed to go hybrid and decided the easiest step was to cut car weight and make their engines more efficient. This is the route all car makers are doing whether the new car will be hybrid or not. The issue now is that it will be much harder for Mazda to make that big jump for the next versions of mid-high range cars as cutting weight alot more would need more expensive alloys and a breakthrough in ICE that the skyactiv has not already done.

  16. Too bad there aren't yet any local Tesla Model S sedans on hand to range challenge the Mazda SUV on a 40 MPH all-urban journey. I think the Tesla would win. Easily.

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