The car that won the 2015-2016 Japan Car of the Year was announced on December 7, 2015. The Mazda Roadster was named as Car of the Year for this year. Chief Engineer Nobuhiro Yamamoto, who worked on the Mazda Roadster, talked about this award that they received this time.
During the tallying of votes for Japan Car of the Year, the Mazda Roadster and the Honda S660 sports cars were fighting for the 1st and 2nd places. “Since we were in a close fight with Honda, I felt nervous as the tallying of votes went on,” Yamamoto said. “We were not able to count the votes that we got, so we just waited for the announcement of results. I was alone at that time and I couldn’t do anything (Yamamoto sat at the front row of the venue, and he was sitting between the BMW CEO and the Honda S660 chief engineer). But I was very happy when Mazda was called,” he said smiling.
He also said with confidence, “We put in mind to produce important products, and because of that, we were able to do it with higher goals. We were able to produce cars according to our target, so I had confidence in that part.”
“Even so, there are still many things that we want to do with this car, and there are many things that we have to do for it as well. Our life cycle is long so we should not just remain contented with what we have now. Instead, we will continue developing the Roadster by taking this award as an encouragement,” he clarified regarding the continuation of development of the Roadster.
Mazda has received awards for two years in a row, continuing from the Demio.
However, Mazda said that receiving an award with the Roadster is a really big thing for them. “Mazda’s new-generation products are all based on the Jinba Ittai concept, or ‘the unity of driver and car.’
Through the result of the award that the Roadster received as the first product applied with that concept, the evaluations we get from the media as well as from many people made us confident and have a sense of achievement.
“Therefore, it is a very important thing for Mazda that the Roadster has been given an award, as it has given us confidence. Aside from that, I think it will also give the Mazda members more courage, and we can do more things,” he encouragingly talked about this award as a new stepping stone that Mazda will be taking on from now.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)