Mazda Managing Executive Officer Kiyoshi Fujiwara

2015 Car of the Year: Mazda Roadster named ‘Car of the Year,’ sports car as part of Japanese car culture, says Managing Officer Fujiwara

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. Mazda Managing Executive Officer Kiyoshi Fujiwara went on the stage to personally receive the honored certificate and trophy. After receiving the award, he expressed his words of gratitude from the stage.

“We have been continuously manufacturing the Roadster for a quarter-century, and we have received a lot of intense words from many people. Due to high expectations, we came back by developing the fourth-generation Roadster. Even though we still haven’t met the expectations of everyone, we will continue to move forward from now and work hard so that we will be able to meet your expectations. And we want to produce more products together with your suggestions.” He promised the fans towards the progress of the Roadster.

He also expressed his gratitude towards their team members. Afterwards, he also thanked their mentors for helping them in those times when there were people who left them while in the middle of their production, and in the darkest times of the Lehman shock.

Looking back at the history of Mazda, he also referred to the time when there was nothing for Mazda during those best times of hybrid technology development. Even though they have developed the SkyActiv technology, it was also obvious that the very difficult times after that, such as the Lehman shock, the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the very strong yen, have been ongoing. “And then, since the development of the CX-5 in 2013, we have received three awards in four years. Aside from the CX-5, we also received awards with the Atenza, the Axela, the Demio, the CX-3, and this Roadster. We really worked so hard for these developments,” he encouragingly said to all the members while tears welled up in his eyes.

Moreover, he also pledged regarding a certain part of their development, “While being proud of this award, there’s no need for any luxurious celebration about it. Instead, let us have more confidence and continue to take it step by step. We will make our will into form.”

As he said, “Please let me end my speech with this perception,” Fujiwara humbly spoke about his real intention. “I really did not think that we would receive an award for the CX-5 in 2012 to 2013.” “That was the time of the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86. Those sport cars had their world premiere at that time. Then the Copen was also launched,” he said, looking back to many sports cars that were launched in those years.

“After the collapse of bubble economy, many good and bad things that happened to the Japanese automobile industry within the lost two decades. And in 2012, the period of manufacturing sports cars arrived in the Japanese automobile industry. Considering it carefully, I personally think that very powerful sport cars that are unique to Japan have helped in making Japan, or the Japanese automobile industry more alive,” he highlighted about the sports cars that only Japan can produce as of now.

“Further, when I came from Hiroshima today, I was able to see the very beautiful Mt. Fuji. We will develop such sports cars and manufacture more cars to let many people witness such beautiful scenery while travelling. There’s no other country like ours. We will continue to create this kind of sports car, and if managers in my generation would focus on managing with love instead of counting numbers, we can certainly continue to produce more of these cars. We want this to become a part of the Japanese car culture. Mazda will make it happen. Let’s do this together. Thank you very much.”

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)