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Mazda on the move

Jack G. Beasley profiles one of Japan's less high-profile car manufacturers, Mazda, and sees how the company is leading the field in terms of environmental friendliness.

RX-7

The ferocious new RX-7

Automobiles are very important in our lives, not only for the obvious transportation functions but also for the jobs they create. Most of us in Japan are aware of the top three car companies here and what they are doing to clean up the environment through their engines and recyclable parts. But these are issues which effect all car manufacturers, not just the Toyotas and Nissans of this world. Welcome to Mazda.

Mazda Motor Corporation was established in 1920 with its headquarters in Hiroshima. Today they are one of the leading manufactures in Japan. Operations encompass two domestic and sixteen overseas production facilities. Mazda vehicles are available in over 130 countries around the world.

Mazda, like other manufactures, have a responsibility to society and believe that automobiles, like other products, have life cycles, generations which come and go. Intrinsic to research and development, they believe that the future is not a mere extension of the past but requires constant innovation supported by integrated manufacturing processes in line with tomorrow's product demands.

With this in mind Mazda launched, in 1998 and 1999, the Premacy, MPV, Bongo and Familia Sport 20. These new models seem to have gone down well with the motoring public, with orders for the MPV in the first month at three times Mazda's target. Shortly afterwards Mazda released the all new Premacy and the new MPV, embodying the new Mazda brand personality: "Stylish, insightful and spirited."

MPV

Orders for the MPV have skyrocketed

The MPV is a fully redesigned minivan and was developed in response to worldwide customer feedback. As well as its sporty appearance, this model's insightful and highly efficient packaging offers a roomy interior and ample luggage space. New ideas incorporated throughout the MPV are the result of in-depth surveys conducted around the world, and it is chock full of new ideas, insightful functions and boasts a beautifully quiet ride, regardless of the number of occupants or amount of luggage.

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The Premacy maintains leading safety standards

Both the all new MPV and new Premacy models actively promote Mazda's commitment to providing the highest levels of product quality and driving safety, achieved through a combination of active and passive safety features incorporating the latest technology. These include use of highly visible and easy-to-operate controls, high seat positions and large windows for excellent visibility, 4W-ABS plus an EBD (electronic brake-force distribution) system as well as front and side airbags for the front seats.

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The MX-5, the world's best-selling two-seat sports car

Other Mazda models to take note of are the new (released January 1999) RX-7 with its high-powered rotary engine and, of course, the famous MX-5 Miata, first introduced in 1989, which earlier this year topped the 500,000 units production mark. The MX-5 is now the best selling two-seat, lightweight open sports car in the world.

In North America the 626 Sedan is proving to be a real winner for Mazda as are their B-Series pickup trucks. In Europe it's the 626 5-door hatchback models and the new 323F compact car that are contributing to significant sales growth. B-Series trucks, produced by ATT in Thailand, have been well received in the local market. In the first phase of expansion, ATT began exporting this model to Australia and New Zealand in December 1998.

So what does this all spell for Mazda? 1999 marked "a year of positive change" for The Mazda Motor Corporation. They showed their first consolidated profit since 1993 and only 800 million short of their all-time record in 1985. With their environmental projects and new ideas Mazda is a name that the top three in Japan will have to beware of as it accelerates fast behind them in automobile markets around the world in the next century.

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