Mazda Motor Corporation today began production of its next 'new generation' vehicle. The new car – to be named MAZDA 3 in the majority of global markets, "Axela" in the Japanese market – is the fourth all-new Mazda developed under the company's sharply focused product creation system. It will follow closely the success of the MAZDA 6 (known as the Atenza in Japan), MAZDA 2 (Demio) and Mazda RX-8. The newest Mazda will make its official debut at the 60th Frankfurt Motor Show in early September 2003.
MAZDA3 blurs the lines of conventional vehicle segments, offering traditional C-segment customers more than they would normally expect in terms of design, craftsmanship and interior packaging. Of course, MAZDA3 will continue the company’s much-envied dynamic Zoom-zoom driving experience, often associated with more expensive European-built vehicles. Recent Mazda products, developed and built using these same priorities, have helped the company achieve critical product acclaim from customers and media, including more than 50 international awards for the MAZDA6 and the "2003 International Engine of the Year" award for the RENESIS rotary engine in the new Mazda RX-8.
To mark the start of production, a ceremony was held today at Mazda’s Hofu Plant in the Yamaguchi Prefecture of Japan. The official Job #1 vehicle, a European-specification, five-door hatchback in Winning Blue, was greeted off the line by union representatives, Mazda employees and key company directors.
The newest Mazda embodies the design direction presented in the Mazda MX Sportif concept, which was showcased at the Geneva International Motor Show in March and the New York Auto Show in April 2003. The strong Mazda brand DNA – stylish, insightful and spirited – can be found throughout the vehicle. Key development targets for new MAZDA3 included:
A prominent and well-defined Mazda design based on distinct, muscular proportions and dynamic athleticism
Mazda's highest levels of craftsmanship and quality to ensure high value for customers
Superbly balanced vehicle dynamics to deliver class-leading driving enjoyment often associated with European cars
Optimal interior space and innovative packing solutions to maximize usability
Additional product detail, including information pertaining to body styles, packages, powertrains and pricing of the new MAZDA 3, will be officially announced during the Frankfurt Auto Show. The vehicle will go on sale in Europe in the fall and will be introduced into key markets through the fourth quarter of calendar year 2003 and into the first quarter of 2004.
Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.
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