New Mazda Roadster

New Mazda Roadster Launch: Front fender changes to aluminum, a work of an artisan

Mazda announced on May 20 that they will release the 4th generation Roadster model on May 21, 2015. Since the release of the first generation model in 1989 until the third generation model, they produced a total of 950 thousand units, and after becoming the most-selling “light weight sports car” 10 years after its latest release, it received a full revision.

Its powertrain is mated to a 6-speed MT (manual transmission) and AT (automatic transmission) on its 1.5L gasoline engine equipped with the SkyActiv technology. It will be sold in three grades, and its price range is around 2.49 million to 3.14 million yen tax included. The developers’ aim was to substantially make this car light, according to Mazda Roadster developer in charge and program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto, thus it now surpasses the lightness of the previous models by 100kg and the gross weight of its base grade was decreased by 990kg to 1ton.

They tried to reduce, by even as little as a gram, the weight in all parts, and they also planned to revise the car’s structure and increase parts with aluminum. It’s the company’s first time to use aluminum for front fenders. Its overall weight after the aluminum coating increased by 9% from 0.1%.

Among these processes, the pressworking of the fender with deep tye-dyeing was the most complex. According to Takashi Uematsu, production in charge of the main factory, “The computer simulation of the metal pattern design did not work well, therefore a professional artisan created the pattern instead.” This metal design was changed into digital data. If the metal pattern was ruined in the middle of the production, a failsafe mechanism would take over to modify it, securing the quality and essence of its “Soul of Motion” design.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)