How does restoring an older Miata help Wei Hsiao, accessory development engineer at Mazda’s Research and Development Center, improve the next-generation of customer products? By teaching him the value of quality and good design.
“My primary responsibility is to lead the engineering development activities for specific accessories from the conceptual phase to production parts,” Hsiao explained. “This requires close communication and collaboration to ensure robust functionality, good design execution and high-quality fitment. It is my role to create value for our customers.”
Hsiao has been working at Mazda for three years, and in that time he located and purchased a classic, special-edition 1991 Mazda MX-5 Miata, painted in timeless British Racing Green.
“I’ve been working on my Miata for more than two years, and before that I’ve had various project cars,” he recalled. “My love for cars runs in my veins. Ever since I was a little boy, I could recite all of the cars that I saw on the streets, and my passion for automobiles only got stronger as the years have gone by.”
Hsiao spends as much time as he can on restoring his Miata, although there are new demands on his time as well.
“I work on my car whenever I have spare time, really,” he said. “But I have an 8-month-old daughter now, and she demands a lot of my attention.”
Restoring his Miata takes Hsiao deep into the design and engineering of the car.
“I’m very selective on what goes into my personal project,” he said. “I customize my Miata to make it unique, to express my current state of life and to make myself happy. So it’s important to have products that use high-grade materials, and which have gone through vigorous tests to ensure the parts are safe and durable.”
The insights gained in his own garage provide Hsiao with a unique perspective on his work.
“I carry that same mindset when I am developing Mazda accessories, and it really helps me make decisions on the design and functional aspect of a part,” he insisted. “I put myself in the customers’ shoes, and I think about what would satisfy them. The ultimate goal is to bring smiles to their faces.”