Two Mazda6 vehicles were made available to participating SEMA members—one on the floor for companies interested in interior and underhood specs and other on a lift for companies to get a look under the vehicle and for easier access to the wheels and brakes.
Many of the sessions permit the use of cameras for manufacturers so companies can get an up-close and detailed look at the areas of particular interest.
In addition to taking measurements for potential product development, manufacturers also use measuring sessions to examine the form and fit of exiting products.
By Jason Catullo
Mazda USA recently lifted the bay doors to SEMA members interested in developing parts and accessories for the Mazda6. Wheel companies, interior specialists, performance-parts manufacturers and more joined the Measuring Session for their turn to obtain the specs and measurements needed to get production rolling and prep products for when the vehicle hits the streets.
The purpose of all SEMA Measuring Sessions is to provide companies an opportunity to preview and measure new-vehicle releases from participating OEMs. With the time allotted, companies can check the form and fit of existing products, prototype new parts, take measurements for future product plans and get familiar with new vehicles and the potential for specialty-equipment upgrades.
According to the automaker, the redesigned ’14 Mazda6 is the next vehicle in the brand’s lineup to feature SKYACTIV technology—a term that Mazda uses for a variety of performance-oriented, fuel-saving engine, transmission, body and chassis components. The technology first appeared in the ’12 Mazda3 compact car and was fully incorporated into the ’13 CX-5 compact SUV.
In addition to the all-new design of the Mazda6, other exterior changes for the ’14 model include new LED rear combination lights, halogen daytime running lights, mirrors with side turn lamps, and 17-in. alloy wheels. Pushing the Mazda6 is an all-new powertrain—the SKYACTIV-G 2.5L DOHC four-cylinder. Interior changes for the ’14 model include a new interior design with leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake, as well as a push-button start, USB audio input and MID with a trip computer.
One of the goals of Measuring Sessions is to ensure that all attendees have their opportunity to get time with the car. Typically, two representatives per company examine the car simultaneously, which helps companies to quickly gain the data that they require. For the Mazda6 session, two vehicles were provided, one on the floor with several interior parts removed, and the other on a lift with all of the tires removed.
The interactivity of SEMA Measuring Sessions does not end with the access to soon-to-be-released vehicles. Companies are also provided access to OEM engineers and technical staff who are on-hand to answer questions and offer support, additional information and technical specs for the vehicles. Among the Mazda representatives in the garage for the Mazda6 session was Jim Kilbourne, analyst, accessory product planning and strategy.
Kilbourne spent the entire day with the companies at the session anwering questions and providing insight to Mazda's plans for its newly redesigned sedan. He enjoyed speaking with the participating manufacturers and learning their ideas for accessories and upgrades.
"Most of the suppliers were pleased to see the new Mazda6 and were impressed with the appearance, craftsmanship, design and quality of the vehicle," said Kilbourne. "One of the wheel suppliers mentioned that he was excited to see 19-in. wheels on the Touring Trim."
Some of the products planned included seat covers, wheels, wheel caliper covers, roof rack accessories, exhaust systems, fuel-filler doors, audio and electronic entertainment upgrades. Some companies will bring existing products to the sessions to check the fit and placement.
"I was surprised to learn that the folks at Racing Beat were preparing a 'Knight Sports' exhaust system for the diesel version in Japan," said Kilbourne. "It looked like the same jig dimensions would work for an exhaust system for the gasoline version here in the United States."
While nothing has been finalized, Kilbourne says that the vehicles up next for a possible SEMA Measuring Session are the '14 Mazda3 4-door and the Mazda3 5-door.
More information on all upcoming sessions, as well as details on SEMA Measuring Sessions in general, are available by contacting Bill Wolf at email@example.com.