Mazda North American Operations

P.O. Box 19734

Irvine, CA 92623-9734

Attn: Customer Assistance Center 


January 10, 2011

Dear Mazda-

My 1995 Mazda 626 (DX) just hit 300,000 miles and all I can say is, “Thank you for such a fantastic car!”

When I originally purchased this car in Lincoln, Nebraska, I had no idea what a dependable vehicle I was getting. At the time, all I knew was that the 626 looked good, drove good, and had that groovy “swing” feature for the central air vents. I remember thinking that those oscillating vents were the coolest feature I’d ever seen in a car, and the “swing” button was quite the conversation starter.

Now, well over a dozen years later and road trips across the country, this fantastic car has more than met my expectations for what a quality car should be. For the record, I am not a “car guy.” I don’t perform vehicle maintenance myself (though I do have some mechanical abilities). In fact, when it comes to regular servicing and such, I am pretty lackadaisical about following regular guidelines. I frequently would let the mileage go 5-7 thousand miles beyond the recommended time between  oil changes! But for all the driving and “abuse” that this car has seen, I couldn’t have asked for a more reliable vehicle.

I have had NO serious mechanical or performance issues with this vehicle-EVER! Sure, I’ve replaced the timing belt twice, put in a new radiator (some time ago), had the front axle replaced, and swapped out catalytic converters twice, but the motor and manual transmission are all original, as is pretty  much everything else except for filters, tires and brakes. From a mechanical perspective, this car has been unbeatable. (I should note that I have owned several vehicles to date, both foreign and domestic.)

The exterior paint is still original (Sahara Gold), though it is now fading badly in several areas, and the interior’s better days passed by several years ago, but all things considered, I’d keep driving this car for another 300,000 miles if I could. Sadly, these past few years (and tens of thousands of miles) have made it very difficult to continue to pass ever-tightening state emissions testing and I can’t continue to justify pouring hundreds of dollars (or more) to keep it on the road, since the resale value is next to zero. So from a financial stand point, it just makes sense to retire it now.

But I’m retiring it with much sadness. Where else could I find a new car that can so readily achieve 30+ MPG both in town, on the freeway, and stuck in rush hour traffic- even after all those miles? Where else could I find a car with such tight handling and smooth driving performance- even after all those miles? Where else will I ever find another “swing” feature???

I know that 300,000 miles isn’t any kind of vehicular longevity record, but it sure is for me, and considering that I’m still running with the original engine and transmission, I think this proves that somebody in your company knows how to make a car that will last. For this, I sincerely thank you all.

I’ll be taking over my wife’s ’02 Mitsubishi Lancer now, which is also a nice car, even with its 105,000+ mileage, but not nearly the performer that my good old 626 has been.

I have not yet decided just how I’ll retire this wonderful car of mine. I’ve been thinking of donating it to one of those charity outfits and taking the tax credit. I’ve been thinking of sending it off to the car graveyard (read-junkyard). I’ve been wondering if I could even sell it outright for a few hundred dollars to some needy person. No matter what I decide, I know this- I will surely miss this car a great deal…from its manual hand-crank windows to its non-power locks to its unreadable stock AM/FM/Cassette stereo system (by the way- these stock speakers really can put out the tunes!) to the very special “swing” feature. 

I even considered giving it back to you as a testament to its greatness-(when researching how to reach you to send this letter, I noticed that your corporate headquarters is just up the road from me in Irvine. I live in Oceanside, California.)-but doubt you’re actually interested in getting back an old 626. (If you are interested, drop me a line- we could work something out!)

In closing let me just say that the next time I’m in the market for another vehicle, I’ll be shopping the Mazda’s first, hoping to find something as reliable and affordable as this 1995 626 (DX) has been for me. I can only hope you folks will still be producing such great cars when that day comes.


Ken Grandlund

One VERY Satisfied customer

PS- I’m enclosing a picture of the car and the odometer reading for you. Maybe you have a nice bulletin board like they have at the vet’s office that you can pin these up to.