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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:55 am
Posts: 484
Location: ACT, Australia
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Hi all,

these are my rambling opinions on why we see quite a few low km, almost pristine vehicles in Oz. So, here we go (deep breath...)

No salt, minimal ice, warm temps and dry(ish) air = no rust. That takes out the biggest killer, unless you permanently park at the beach in the sea spray.

Japanese build quality- and then some
Mechanical reliability coupled with good quality materials, build quality and fit-n-finish mean the vehicles can last and not break down. The Japanese have an amazing ability to export their Q.C. to another country- including Australia.

Even more so, the BA/Lantis was regarded as an 'upmarket' small car and build as such, esp being twinned with Eunos models designed to take on Lexus (and perhaps MB/BMW/Audi). So it got top-range, not just run-o-the-mill Japanese quality.

Many run >300,000km.

A 3 y.o. Ford Focus/Mondeo tends to look as bad as a 10+ y.o. Japanese car in Oz. Having said that, there's no point building better if it will rust off after 7-10 years and the UV ain't so bad anyway... (sorry Brits!)

Even Japanese cars can have weaknesses and the BA seems to have very few reliability ones- perhaps pooping a window roller, maybe rear brakes, perhaps the dizzy and even that's not all that common. Mechanically they're pretty standard in design, relatively simple to both service and repair.

Mazdas have similar prices to other Japanese brands (and some Euros) but with tending to have a dash more style and performance (than the other Japanese, not the Euros). However the BA was a 'premium' small car and coupled with the fact the $AUD had fallen off a cliff (like a factor of 2) vs the Japanese Yen, Japanese car prices skyrocketed. The V6 hardtop in particular was forced up towards and into BMW 3-series territory, and were rare even new.

Market Demographic and consequent care
Being a 'premium' small car (there was the 323 protege underneath it for the 'plebs') the BA commanded extra money. It also therefore didn't sell quite as many as it could, The 1.8 hatch was far more common than the V6 and that was probably entirely price-driven.

Even other Mazdas are treated/bought this way. There's a pecking order, with Toyota being the hack that runs 200,000km without servicing, Nissan the unwanted beige cardigan, Mitsubishi the utility gumboot, Suzuki the boy racer, Mazda that slightly stylish and popular friend of yours that you always wished you were and Honda the upper class snob wannabe with the trendoid accoutrements.

These cars were therefore a more 'lifestyle' or premium purchase. Whilst a lot will have been rolled over in 3 years (the one my father picked up before I got it was one), quite a few went to private purchasers so the owners tended to look after them. They'd go to an affluent home, either as the second car or primary car of a retired couple, etc. The family car would be handed down to the kids to learn and drive, these will be relatively high kms. The quiet, conservative couples (or singles) such as pensioners who only kept the car for weekend church services and had it serviced (ahem) religiously are likely the ones with low klms- perhaps retirees no longer able to drive. A stereotype I know, but you get the idea. The reliability coupled with a bit of verve often engender strong owner loyalty, and therefore long ownership. The cars get cossetted- serviced regularly and garaged. I think there's a surprising amount out there like this and I've seen it happen with other vehicle models.

Even when hand-me-downed to a 3rd+ owner and street parked they are often praised for their reliability.

Mazda is pretty well the darling of the small-medium private vehicle market in Oz and has been for at least 10 years due to the 3 with its excellent packaging mix of style, performance, handling and Japanese quality/reliability. Plus Mazda do smart things like engineering changes to ensure use of local 91 RON ULP- whereas the Euros all insist on much more expensive 95/98 RON ULP, negating any fuel efficiency advantage.

(Ramble off!)


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