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Old 09-04-2003, 11:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
Insane
 
Location: Austin, Texas .. Y'all
Mazda to recall/buyback all RX-8's

Article here:http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/...rbuyback_x.htm

RX-8s fall short of power claims, so Mazda will buy them back

By James R. Healey, USA TODAY

Mazda is offering to buy back most of the 3,551 RX-8 rotary-engine sports cars sold since the July launch because engine power is as much as 5% less than advertised an important difference to sports car enthusiasts.

The flub interrupts an important rollout of models designed to restore Mazda's image as innovative and sporty. But the company's quick action is expected to prevent damage to Mazda's reputation.

Mazda sent letters Aug. 22 to RX-8 purchasers saying it would pay full sticker price plus taxes and other fees even if they've run up thousands of miles on their cars. Those who tell Mazda they will keep their cars get free scheduled maintenance for the four-year, 50,000-mile warranty period, plus $500. Buyers who don't contact Mazda get nothing.

Buyers from now on sign a form saying they've been informed of the discrepancy and aren't eligible for buyback or maintenance deals.

Thirty-one owners have asked for their money back, says Mazda spokesman Jeremy Barnes.

He says the power dropped after a last-minute change in engine tuning to meet emission rules. The drop was noticed "during ongoing testing that manufacturers perform after cars go on sale."

The RX-8 with manual transmission was supposed to deliver 247 horsepower but makes 238. The automatic transmission model was rated 207 hp, but makes 197. There's no drop in advertised acceleration, apparently because testing was done with the lower-power models.

This is the second time Mazda has overstated the power of a sports car. It made the same buyback offer to purchasers of 2001 Miata two-seaters because those produced 142 hp instead of the 155 hp that Mazda advertised.

"It's unfortunate, but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. The RX-8's still a cool car. And Mazda's to be applauded for not denying the problem," says Gordon Wangers at AMCI, which tests cars to give automakers data to support advertising claims. "I'd still recommend it to my friends."

"The bigger problem would be that it reminds people that years ago there was problem with the rotary engine," says Dan Gorrell, at consultant Strategic Vision.

Mazda last sold rotary-power cars in the USA in 1995. Older rotaries burned oil. If owners didn't monitor them closely, engines wore out fast. The new design uses much less oil, Mazda says, and shouldn't cause problems.

Questionable power claims aren't just a Mazda problem.

Hyundai confessed last year that it misstated power by as much as 12 hp, or 9.6%, on 1.3 million vehicles sold in the USA and Canada since 1992. Hyundai blamed sloppy record keeping and provided extended warranties to owners of the 400,000 vehicles with the biggest discrepancies. Some Kia models, which use Hyundai engines, also were involved.

Ford Motor, which has a controlling stake in Mazda, recalled 8,100 1999 Mustang Cobras after owners found the engines did not produce the advertised 320 hp. Ford blamed changes in mufflers and intake manifolds for the problem and installed new ones free on nearly all the Cobras a process that took so much time it eliminated production of '00 model Cobras.

Nissan's '02 Infiniti Q45 wouldn't accelerate to 60 mph in the 5.9 seconds the company claimed. Nissan said it tested the car under ideal weather conditions, using a light base model and lightweight driver. It didn't offer buyers anything to make good.

Nissan cut power ratings by 5 hp on the '02 Maxima, Altima 2.5, Sentra SE-R and Spec V models shortly before they went on sale.
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Old 09-04-2003, 11:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
Upright
 
Wow, thats a really impressive response by Mazda. This is the first I've heard of the RX's having power deficiency problems.
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Old 09-04-2003, 01:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Tulsa, OK
Hey, if they wanna sell me one of those "weak" RX-8 manuals for a reduced price, I would be happy to.
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Old 09-04-2003, 01:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Upstate, NY
Quote:
Originally posted by Elitegibson
Hey, if they wanna sell me one of those "weak" RX-8 manuals for a reduced price, I would be happy to.
Me Too
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Old 09-04-2003, 02:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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"Those who tell Mazda they will keep their cars get free scheduled maintenance for the four-year, 50,000-mile warranty period, plus $500..."

I don't know if this is that great of a deal. I think they should offer $1000, free scheduled maintenance for 5 years, and offer a 100,000 mile warranty. Remember, this is only to customers who have already bought/ordered their RX-8. Now this sounds like something I would take. If not, I'd toss the car back.
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Old 09-05-2003, 07:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: San Diego, CA.
for 10hp? first off, who would even notice the difference? Most people wont even begin to tell what 247 feels like, let alone that they are only getting 238...

500 bucks and free maintenance are more than worth it for 10hp. heck with that 500 bucks you could open up the intake and exhaust and probably get more than your 10hp back. Plus the free maintenance on that. They did the right thing finding and fixing their mistake, even though nobody would probably ever notice.
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Old 09-05-2003, 07:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
Insane
 
Location: Champaign, IL
10hp is easily noticeable, however I would be more worried about the torque numbers as rotaries are notoriously low on torque. Very peaky engines though.
As for the oil burning, IIRC it was the apex seals that went out quickly.
Oh yeah, anyone know if they degraded the automatic version's engine or if Mazda just sucks at making a transmission?
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Old 09-05-2003, 08:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: PA
Companies rate hp at the engine, not at the wheels, so the transmission shouldn't have anything to do with it. They probably tuned the engines differently because low end torque is more important than max hp with an auto.
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Old 09-05-2003, 09:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: San Diego, CA.
Ok, 10hp is noticable if you know what it was like before. What i was getting at is taht nobody will get in the car and know. Your not going to get in the car and say "WTF? this isn't 247HP!! its more like 238....pfft screw that!" Nobody getting in the car will be able to tell that its not 247, but slightly less.

As for torque, its got 160 lb/ft. And its not that rotaries lack torque so much....its that they lack it in the low end. They've got enough torque for anything ya need out of a sportscar, but they do it at 6k+ rpms.

As for the auto/manual numbers, look at the redline. Autos stop at approx. 7200 rpm. The manual tranny flys up to 8.5k-9k. If you could spin the auto up that fast it would likely make much larger numbers. I heard the reasoning from a Mazda rep for this once but i dont quite remembr why. i think its revs lower BECAUSE its an automatic. Something like the tourque converter would overheat if revved up so high or something. But it had to do with the power being limited by the revs, which were in turn limited by it being an automatic.
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Old 09-05-2003, 12:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Quote:
Originally posted by Elitegibson
Hey, if they wanna sell me one of those "weak" RX-8 manuals for a reduced price, I would be happy to.
I'll take two.
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Old 09-05-2003, 06:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by CrazySaturn
Oh yeah, anyone know if they degraded the automatic version's engine or if Mazda just sucks at making a transmission?
I would not hesitate to buy a Ford/etc. vehicle with a manual transmision. I would let the salesman run over my toes before I got another one with an auto.
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Old 09-06-2003, 09:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
Crazy
 
5% difference isn't that big a deal at all... you could get that back from a couple of mods easily anyway, then again, I have no idea what mods you'd even do to a rotary engine, haha.
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Old 09-06-2003, 09:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: San Diego, CA.
Rotaries give much more extreme increases from increase in airflow (catback, headers, CAI, porting) than youll get out of almost any piston engine, unless its forced induction. That 500 bucks back could probably get you that extra 10HP or so back with no problem.
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Old 09-07-2003, 12:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
Tilted
 
If i had bought an rx-8, and they sent me a letter saying they'd buy it back for full price, i'd probably romp around in the car for half a thousand miles doing drifts and god knows what else. THEN ask for my money back.

But in all seriously, that's big of mazda for doing something like this. As some already said, nobody will notice the measly horsepower difference. It's just the right thing to do to admit that they didn't live up to what they advertised. Plus, they're smart for confessing before the press chewed them out and inadvertently destroyed the rx8 during it's first year.
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Old 09-07-2003, 10:00 AM   #15 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: SE USA
Anyone buying a sports car with an automatic should be slapped vigorously. The one time that I was afforded the chance to drive an NSX, it happened to be one of the AT-equipped ones. I almost cried.

Good on ya, Mazda. It's the right thing to do.
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Old 09-07-2003, 12:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: San Diego, CA.
I dunno about slapping people who buy autos...

I might go auto over stick if it had paddle shifters, like the high end italian exotics. Hell, even most cheap autos now have a feature to let you manually shift it. not the same feeling as using a stick, but still all the control of a manual with the quick precise shift of an auto, and never having to worry about a misshift unless you are clumbsy with your paddle-wacking.
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Old 09-07-2003, 01:57 PM   #17 (permalink)
Insane
 
Location: Champaign, IL
Actually most manual-shift automatics are just automatics that let you choose the gears. Not very quick shifts, and often the computer won't let you shift as you like (i.e. downshifting two gears at a time/in sequence). As for true clutchless automatics (they still have a clutch, it's just computer controlled) they are amazing fast, as in 1/10 of a second or less.
Still, every enthusiast I've talked to says half the fun of driving is having a manual. Makes me very much wish I had a manual...
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Old 09-07-2003, 02:36 PM   #18 (permalink)
Tilted
 
haha thats ppretty funny to me. Pay all that money for an unerpowered car. haha
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Old 09-07-2003, 02:44 PM   #19 (permalink)
Insane
 
Location: [insert witty play on location field here]
SPORTS cars and MUSCLE cars shouldnt even be available with autos. Hi-end exotics I can understand....most of those owners are just old and lazy Just kiddin

Very big of Mazda to admit it and try to rectify the problem. But, if the extra 9 HP was never there, why would the owners care?
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Old 09-07-2003, 02:47 PM   #20 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: San Diego, CA.
well, if that extra 9 HP was a selling point for the mazda over something else....

Course that would be kinda dumb....theRX-series has proven iteself over the years. Plus rotary ownage would be a selling point for me. i love that engine
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Old 09-07-2003, 04:50 PM   #21 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: Canada eh?
Only advantage of an Auto is you can drive it with only one leg. This is kind of interesting in that it sounds like Mazda contacted the owners first after they noticed a discrepancy vs. some owner noticing her dyno number weren't as advertised. Compare to the way dodge handled the whole Dakota R/T fiasco.
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Old 09-07-2003, 06:14 PM   #22 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Contrary to popular belief, an auto can give you just as much performance as a stick, especially for straightline. Ever wondered why many of the insanely fast (9sec) blown big block drag cars use a Powerglide 2sp auto tranny? It's just as good, if not better than a manual. Unless you are really good at driving stick, an auto is the way to go, and a hell of a lot easier for driving every day. Sure, a stick is more fun, and I'd personally buy one for my car if I ever got something sporty, but don't knock auto's as less, cause they really aren't.
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Old 09-07-2003, 06:56 PM   #23 (permalink)
Insane
 
Great response by Mozda.. reinforces my feelings about them=)

If I had the cash I would def get an rx-8 or a 7
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Old 09-07-2003, 08:30 PM   #24 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Quote:
Originally posted by mystic511
If i had bought an rx-8, and they sent me a letter saying they'd buy it back for full price, i'd probably romp around in the car for half a thousand miles doing drifts and god knows what else. THEN ask for my money back.
Hehehe. Yeah, I'd do it. Treat it like a rental!
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Old 09-08-2003, 11:46 PM   #25 (permalink)
Loser
 
So OK...all car companies rate at the flywheel, right? But the only way to test power is at the wheels...at which point you will have a percentage drivetrain loss. So...um....I don't get it....the drivetrain loss is higher than expected? Or did they pull an engine out of a car and put it on a dyno bench and say 'oop!'...because if they did, they're Stoopid...noone would ever do that to a car, everyone would just write it off to higher-than-expected drivetrain loss.

*scratches head*
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Old 09-09-2003, 07:46 AM   #26 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Location: San Diego, CA.
Quote:
He says the power dropped after a last-minute change in engine tuning to meet emission rules. The drop was noticed "during ongoing testing that manufacturers perform after cars go on sale."
Well, its not stoopid. Its honest. And people remember things like that. When its between two cars, people will reccommend the mazda over the other car, because they have had good honest relationships with the mazda guys.

Plus, it costs mazda like nothing. 500 bucks a car is negligible to a company like that, and the percentage of people who are actually going to do anything about it is small im sure. Plus the free labor means almost nothing to teh mechanics, they dont get paid quite as much, but they still get paid.

Its a win-win situation, both for mazda and for the owners.
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Old 09-09-2003, 12:02 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I agree with Peryn. This will go a long way towards making Mazda look good in everyone's eyes as a likeable and trustable company. They found out that the car didn't quite live up to the specs they published and offered to make it up to the owners.

Sure, they know most people won't give up their cars, but it (a) doesn't kill the RX-8 if a few months down the line some independent guy had started calling up newspapers saying "Mazda lied about the RX-8 HP numbers!" and (b) isn't really that much money.
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