Mazda Motor Corporation on Monday held a 'line-off' ceremony for the CX-9 crossover sport-utility vehicle (SUV) being built exclusively for the North American market at the Ujina Plant No.1 near its global headquarters in Hiroshima.

The seven-seat CX-9 reaches North American showrooms in early 2007.

"The CX-9 will be the latest addition to Mazda's product lineup in the all-important North American market, joining the CX-7, which went on sale there in May", said Mazda chairman, president and CEO Hisakazu Imaki at the ceremony. "CX-9 is a key model aimed at raising the visibility of Mazda in North America and will be an integral part of building the brand."

The CX-9 made its public debut at the New York motor show in April 2006.

The smaller five-seat CX-7, launched first in the US, is coming to Europe and the UK in mid-2007, Mazda spokesman Graeme Fudge confirmed to just-auto.

He added, however, that the CX-9 would be sold only in North America.

CX-9 more different from CX-7 than it looks