Mazda Motor Corporation began life as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co, and formally adopted the Mazda name in 1984. After encountering financial problems, Mazda embarked on a relationship with the Ford Motor Company, which took a seven per cent stake in 1979, rising to 33.3 per cent by 1996. However, under the leadership of Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Ford divested its stake in Mazda, and cut production and development ties.
Porsche can go the distance
Porsche Centre Hong Kong says many Footdown readers have shown interest in its Porsche Driving Experience, the driving classes it runs for fans of the marque's motors. But it says the fun doesn't end there. 'The Porsche Travel Club calendar has been extended to include five more events,' the dealer says. 'It now offers 25 tours lasting one or several days for private persons and corporate clients, travelling in specially provided Porsche vehicles.'
The marque's tours include trips to the Porsche factory in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, driving tours through Germany, France and South Africa, and Porsche Camps with driving on and off road in Finland, through Italian mountain passes and in the desert in Dubai.
The Porsche Driving School also offers first-time and advanced training on international racing circuits such as the Hockenheimring, the Nurburgring, Magny-Cours and Suzuka, where drivers can be tested for a national racing licence. There is also a women-only programme and G-force training, telemetric sessions and track days for advanced drivers.
All welcome at MG show
The MG Car Club of Hong Kong will hold its annual show at a new venue, the waterfront of the Ma Liu Shui Marine Police base, near Sha Tin, on February 24. And models don't have to be pristine to take part, its e-newsletter says: 'This is an event for all MGs, whether they are restored to concours standard or not. As long as your MG is licensed and in driveable condition, it will be welcome.'
All MGs are lovable, including this tatty MGB (above) we spotted recently in a junkyard outside Pui O, on Lantau. Perhaps the show will showcase some of MG's less talked-about cars, the MG Metro, Maestro and Montego. It would be nice if Nanjing Automobile Corporation sent its impressive MG7 and TF models to the event. That would highlight the marque's heritage and reaffirm its continuity in the car capital of China. So, if you have an MG and are interested to learn more about the club and its show, e-mail Simon Clennell at keenbrain @hknet.com or call him on 2966 7845 (office) for entry forms.
Mazda gets sportier
We've always liked the Mazda6 and the new 2.5 Sports saloon looks even sleeker at HK$248,000. Greenies might prefer the Mazda3, which goes just as fast in Hong Kong traffic, but the Mazda6 (below) has a 0.27Cd drag coefficient, thanks to a flat cover on its underbody, a horseshoe-shaped front spoiler and an even sportier look on 18-inch alloy wheels. It also has a new MZR 2.5L all-aluminium engine, the marque's latest sequential valve timing technology, (which optimises the opening timing of the air intake valves according to the engine speed) and the promise of 170 horsepower at 6,000rpm. 'More importantly, it delivers over 90 per cent of the torque in the 1,700-5,800rpm range, making it ideally suited to everyday start-accelerate-stop driving in Hong Kong,' says Mazda Hong Kong spokesman Kari Chim. The Mazda6 also has a five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift and the RX8's active adaptive shift technology, which decides on the best gear for the road's gradient, rate of acceleration and steering angle. The model is also fitted with the marque's latest electronic power assist steering, a smart-key system, bucket seats and a Bose sound system with an iPod adaptor.