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Old 09-02-2002, 09:40   #1 (permalink)
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Mazda Steps up product push for 2003

Automotive News

B-Series: Itís old, and Fordís cost-cutting isnít helping. Dealers would just as soon be rid of it, and Mazdaís former boss, Mark Fields, said he doesnít see a reason for a ďzoom-zoomĒ franchise to have a pickup. Expect the plug to be pulled after the 2003 model year.

Demio/Mazda2: The Demio, a small car under consideration for the U.S. market, is called the Mazda2 in Europe. The interior is nearly as spacious as that of the Protegť. No time frame has been set for a decision.

Mazda6: The Mazda6 replaces the 626 and Millenia. The platform will be the basis of several midsize vehicles within the Ford universe during the next five years. The 2003 Mazda6 will arrive around Christmas as a sedan, with five-door hatchback and wagon versions to come next year.
Power will be provided by a 160-hp, 2.3-liter, inline-four-cylinder engine with sequential valve timing and a 218-hp, 3.0-liter V-6. The suspension is double-wishbone up front and multilink in the rear. The sedan will ride on a 107-inch wheelbase and measures 187.2 inches long and 62 inches wide.


Mazda3/Protegť: The Protegť marque will be killed and replaced with the Mazda3 name when the next-generation sedan and five-door debut for the 2005 model year. The Mazda3 will share architecture and components with the re-engineered Ford Focus.
Mazda wants to be known for performance four-cylinder engines, but expect the power plant offerings to be the same as Fordís to save money. Mazda will tweak its suspension settings for sportiness.


Miata: Choices, choices. Mazda still hasnít decided whether to carry over the existing Miata platform ó which still is quite good despite being 12 years old ó or opt for a redesign. If redesigned, the new Miata might bow for the 2005 or 2006 model year off the RX-8 platform.

MX Sport Tourer: A sporty AWD station wagon along the lines of the Subaru Outback and the Audi Allroad Quattro may arrive for the 2005 model year.

MPV: The minivanís redesign comes for the 2006 model year, with talk centering on using a stretched version of the Mazda6 platform.

RX-8: Rotary engine enthusiasts finally get their RWD supercar, previewed for years, as an early 2004 model. Despite rumors of weight problems caused by reinforcing the doorsills to make up for the lack of a B-pillar, Mazda engineers insist the vehicle will be on time and very fast. A convertible may arrive in spring 2004.

Tribute: A freshening is planned for the 2004 model year, with a re-engineering and a restyling planned for the 2006 model year. But under Fordís cost-cutting regime, the product plans might be delayed.
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