We don’t shy away from posting rumors or speculation but we waited a bit on the recent rumblings that Ford Motor Co. will sell its 33.4% stake (worth about $1.36 Billion USD) in Mazda because it didn’t seem too probable. That was, of course, until recently when Mazda released a statement noting that “no decision has been made” regarding Ford’s interest in the company.
The rumor has been gaining momentum since Mazda’s transition from Ford Financing to Chase Auto Financing last month and speculation by David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, MI, that car exports from Ford Europe will occupy the void left by Mazda if Ford did sell its stake.
Although Ford recently crash landed at its lowest stock price in 26 years, settling at $1.99 a share on last Friday, the fact that Ford and Mazda’s product lines are so extensively integrated would make for a pretty awkward breakup. For example, the Volvo S40 rides on the Mazda3 platform and the Ford Fusion/Ford Edge ride on the Mazda6 platform. Also, the 2009 Mazda6′s new 3.7L V6 is a Ford sourced motor which is also found under the hood of its Ford and Lincoln siblings and Mazda’s popular CX-9 crossover SUV.
Mazda has become one of the most attractive automakers in recent years due in part to its legendary ability to make fun to drive cars (RX-8, MX-5 Miata, Mazda3) and its use of luxury amenities in the Mazda3/Mazda6 that were previously found only in the $30,000+ entry level luxury car class. Mazda will be officially unveiling the much anticipated 2010 Mazda 3 on November 19th at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
You can also check out our forums to talk with other Mazda 3 drivers about the upcoming second generation.