DETROIT, March 16 (Reuters) - Zoom, zoom ... zoom?
Mazda Motor Corp. <7261.T> -- the automaker known for that zippy advertising slogan -- has discovered that the latest model of its Miata sports car is a bit less speedy than it was supposed to be.
Ford Motor Co. , which owns a controlling 33 percent stake in Mazda, said on Friday that the Japanese company had miscalculated the 2001 Miata's horsepower by 8 percent.
The difference may be barely noticeable to most owners of the Miata, a rag-top that has won rave reviews for combining the look and feel of a 1960s-style British roadster with the high-quality and reliability of a Japanese brand car.
But Ford spokesman Mike Vaughn said it meant the power of the new Miata stood at 142 horses, as opposed to the 155 originally advertised.
To make up for the mistake, Mazda is offering 2001 Miata owners factory-free scheduled maintenance for the length of the car's warranty, Ford said. Mazda is also offering the cars' owners a $500 debit card, to spend as they choose, or a special repurchase option.
Ford, the world's No. 2 automaker, had a similar problem in December 1999 when it was forced to acknowledge a modest shortfall in the engine power of about 8,000 1999 Mustang Cobras from the level originally advertised.
In that case, Ford provided upgrades on the Cobra free of charge.