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Mazda Reconfigures 2010 Mazda6, Looks At New Option Strategy

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2010 Mazda Mazda6

2010 Mazda Mazda6

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2010 Mazda Mazda6

2010 Mazda Mazda6

Enlarge Photo

2010 Mazda Mazda6

2010 Mazda Mazda6

Enlarge Photo

2010 Mazda Mazda6

2010 Mazda Mazda6

Enlarge Photo

2010 Mazda Mazda6

2010 Mazda Mazda6

Enlarge Photo

The 2009 Mazda6 was, by almost all accounts, an excellent product arriving at an inopportune time—when auto sales temporarily ground to a halt and the market itself underwent a massive recalibration.

Mazda had initially offered the Mazda6 in a dizzying array of build combinations, but that proved a little overambitious—and difficult for dealerships. For 2010, according to group manager David Dildy, Mazda has tried to address the changes in demand by reducing the number of core build combinations (trims and options) from 23 down to 10, and the number of all-inclusive possible combinations (including colors, trims, and interiors) from around 250 down to about 150.

Whether for 2009 or 2010, the model is on TheCarConnection.com’s shortlist of top sedans, with editors citing its excellent handling and performance and sporty overall driving feel, plus a roomy interior and trunk.

The percentage of Mazda6 models with the V-6 has dropped from about 30 percent at launch to less than 15 percent currently, and within four-cylinder models less than 15 percent choose a manual transmission, so there’s lots of room to consolidate yet.

Expect further cuts for 2011, said Dildy, as Mazda looks at ways to repackage features and options more like Honda’s long-set strategy, which relies on limited options and saving some of the most desirable options for the top trims. Mazda is looking at individual features and their worth to customers as well as to resale value.

For instance, a moonroof might be only offered on Touring and Grand Touring models, not all the way through the Mazda6’s lineup. Top conveniences, like a navigation system, are likely to be offered in a Tech Package, while Touring and Touring Plus packages are in the works for those who want features like blind-spot monitoring, rain-sensing wipers, and push-button start.

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