MAZDA HOSTS SEPTEMBER LUNCHEON,
SHOWS OFF NEW MAZDA 2 SUBCOMPACT

By Bill Adam,  Photos by Pepe Delfino

 

The September SAMA luncheon was held at the beautiful Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami beach under somewhat……..challenging conditions.

Originally scheduled for an outside luncheon, the weather Gods decided to change these plans by inviting a mini monsoon as a guest. As a result, the luncheon meeting had to be moved inside to one of the restaurants, which because of the ambient noise, proved somewhat less than ideal.

The meeting started almost on time, just after noon with president Paul Borden and vice president Jaime Florez welcoming approximately 35 members along with our hosts, MAZDA.

Treasurer Marcello Serratto gave his encouraging report of more new members, David Wallens, Maria Ravani, Howard Walker and Eduardo Hapke along with our treasury balance exceeding $8000. It looks like we’re going to have a lively Christmas party this year!

As secretary, I then gave my report on our upcoming Rides N’ Smiles event, which, thanks to the continued amazing support of the Homestead Miami Speedway, will take place this year on Saturday, November 27. So good are these people, that they actually cancelled another (paying) event just to give us this date. Please remember this as you write articles about any events held at the Speedway.

This year, we will be entertaining children from two hospitals, Baptist Memorial AND Miami Childrens Hospital. In past years, we’re always had the ability to give smiles to more children, so this year should be extra special. Letters have been sent to a number of manufacturers for their special cars, and we already have confirmations from Chrysler, Ford, and Mazda.

On this note, we need to have as many volunteers as we can get. If you, or your spouse would like to help, PLEASE contact one of us on the executive so that jobs can be assigned. We’ll try to put you where you think your talents are best used, but remember this is all about giving smiles to the children, and we need far more than just experienced track drivers.
After an exceptionally nice lunch, Jaim and Paul welcomed our guest speaker from Mazda, Mr. Chris Hill, the vehicle line manager, product planning and strategy, to introduce us to the new Mazda 2.

Mr. Hill spoke of how this sub compact market is growing at a phenomenal pace, with sales of 500,000 units this year abd expected to double within the next 24 months. This is partly in response to our changing economy where increased fuel economy is taking on an ever increasing prority.

Mr. Hill went on to point out that it was important for Mazda to retain their identity as a “fun” vehicle. With only 100HP to work with, they set out to reduce weight as much as possible, and came in with the Mazda 2 at a svelte 2300 pounds. In fact, one of our members who has driven the car, said to me that it was impossible to tell that it had so little horsepower – it was indeed “ a fun car”.

Looking at the attractive car on display, it isn’t hard to think of this being a very successful model for Mazda.

Jaime Florez, went on to introduce Jay Rand from the Homestead Miami Speedway and his special guest Arie Luyendyk (Jr), who will be driving next weekend at the races. A delightful young man, he gave an interesting brief talk about the racing that will take place, and we wish him all the best.

John Kiskinis brought us up to date on the upcoming auto show, where, we’ll be judging and giving out our annual awards. Please make time at attend this most important show, and don’t forget to view the “green cars” display for the latest technological advances.

This is our busiest time of year, with the upcoming Homestead races, the auto show, Rides N’ Smiles, and of course our Christmas party. Please try to attend as many as you can, or even better, ALL of them, to show the spirit of SAMA.

 

 

 

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