Proving that no-one in today’s society is innocent (until a completely unrelated party states that they’re not personally offended by them) automaker Mazda now finds itself on the receiving end of a class-action lawsuit.
The lawsuit, initiated by a conglomeration of unnamed automakers, claims that Mazda has threatened to ‘destabilize the entire automotive industry as a result of its obsessive narcissism.’ Noting such offerings as the Mazda3 sedan/hatchback and the newly redesigned Mazda6, the suit goes on to explain that ‘Mazda’s deliberate aversion to traditional vehicle naming forces competing automakers to unfairly exhaust their creative resources to avoid the creation of a copycat culture.’
To find out more about what this means, we spoke to one of the litigators targeting Mazda, Charlotte NC-based attorney, Jeff Greenduck, Esquire. Attorney Greenduck explains the nature of the lawsuit as follows…
“Simply put, most automakers agree that Mazda has created an unfair advantage for themselves by naming vehicles after themselves. To elaborate, the common person may not realize the timeframe and resources that most automakers invest in the naming of a vehicle. Case in point: the Chevy Traverse. Do you know how long it took for Chevrolet to decide on the name Traverse? 17 months and 12 days. In fact, the decision was made after being whittled down from numerous options across 37 test groups. Now, by comparison, do you know how long it for Mazda decide on the name Mazda6. I’ll give you a hint…no time at all.”
Mr. Greenduck goes on further to explain that, “the long-term effects by such tactics could prove damning for competing automakers, crippling one of our largest global industries. If Mazda continues to take the easy way out, naming vehicles after themselves, it could result in a near-monopoly. After all, how are other automakers supposed to conceive, develop and market vehicles within a normal timeframe and remain a viable alternative for prospective buyers?”
We spoke to Dino Bernacchi, the Chief Marketing Officer for Mazda North America who reacted by laughing, before asking, “You’re joking, right?” Mr. Bernacchi then proceeded to place us on speaker phone, inviting other members of Mazda’s North American Board of Trustees to join in riotous laughter.
Included the group was Mazda’s Chief Litigator, Attorney Hugh Janus, who offered the following:
“It seems very clear that the automotive industry is threatened by the confidence with which Mazda operates. Simplification rests at the heart of Japanese automaking, and thus, the use of simple, (alpha)numerical monikers speak to lean manufacturing in its purest sense. As for the claims of quote/unquote ‘obsessive narcissism,’ we need simply refer to the CX-3, CX-5, CX-9, and Miata to negate their validity. If other automakers want to rely on ‘death by committee’ in some futile attempt to elicit an emotional response, let them. Mazda feels no pressure to validate its methodology for naming vehicles, and is confident that any court will deem the lawsuit to be without merit.”