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The same qualities that you mention are the same qualities that help make Toyota the top selling import brand in the states. They may be boring, but quality and reliability have huge consumer attraction. The same argument also applies to the Lexus brand which is now the #1 import luxury brand. Both model lines show how well Toyota has attacked the North American Market: big, boring cars which suits Americans perfectly.

Honda on the other hand seems to have the identity crisis. Their sales may be comparable to Toyota, however are slipping along with their quality. The styling of many of their models, overall are less appealing than 5 years ago as well (that's personal opinion, styling being subjective). To me it seems that the Honda lineup is experiencing what Acura started going through a decade ago. Ironic, that Acuras seem to have a styling renaissance underway with the MDX, TSX and TL. I hope we don't have to wait 10 years for Honda's identity crisis to be solved.

As for Mazda. They tried their luxury line and failed in several parts of the world causing a financial crisis, which is part of the reason why Ford bought out part of the company. I see Mazda more as a Japanese Volkswagen (with better reliability). Volkswagen seems to be breaking the mold by building luxury VW models and creating a wide range of products for its lineup. Lately, models like the BMW 1-series and the Audi A3 show that those lineups are expanding to make them more accessible to buyers. Maybe Mazda should consider the same strategy? A wide range of cars to insure longevity along a consumer's car buying history?

Maybe not. I think Mazda has the same chance to build on its own luxury lineup with models like the RX-8. I don't associate Mazdas with huge, lazy-mobiles that populate the luxury division. However, there are people who buy BMW M3s, Audi S4s and such. If Mazda were to venture into the luxury market, I think they'd stand the best chance making similar cars. High performance, sport luxury cars.

My 2 cents.
 

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The RX-8 is already putting the Z to shame. Not nearly as fast off the line, but it rewards the driver with a much greater driving experience. To me that's what Mazda's are all about! Driving experience.

What to look forward to? Mazda is preparing a 2007 release for the RX-7. No details on what to expect (hp, price). Likewise, the next MX-5 will probably debut at NAIAS within two weeks! That's all I can see for the future, but it would be sweet to see a RWD sedan!
 
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