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Mazda’s Derek Jenkins Talks Design with Autobytel at the 2014 NY Auto Show

Cherise Threewitt
by Cherise Threewitt
April 20, 2014

The 25th anniversary of the Mazda Miata at the 2014 New York Auto Show made for the perfect occasion to discuss automotive design with Mazda. Autobytel resident Design Student Jason Mosery had an opportunity to talk about modern vehicle design with Derek Jenkins, who is the Director of Design for Mazda. The conversation touched on topics such as the challenges involved with redesigning an iconic car such as the Miata, and how the best selling roadster in the world will continue to evolve. It is important for a car such as the Miata to maintain its foundation and basic DNA, even as the car must evolve to attract new buyers, meet new automotive guidelines, and stay competitive in a completely different automotive market. The priorities of the Miata have always been the same: light weight, rear wheel drive, affordability, and a classic roadster profile that goes back to the British and Italian designs of the 1950s and 1960s. Jason Mosery pointed out that the Mazda has, in a way, come full circle, since there is talk of Mazda collaborating with some of the Italian automakers on upcoming Miata designs. Derek Jenkins also offered some advice for future automotive design hopefuls, namely to focus on the skills needed to express ideas and make it unique. 


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