Mazda has confirmed that its first hybrid model [outside the US - ed] will be on sale within the year – but only in Japan as part of Mazda’s strategy "to meet the needs of each separate market".

New president Masamichi Kogai, who took up his role in May, told reporters in Tokyo the company plans to sell a hybrid version of the redesigned Atenza – sold as the 3 overseas – using hybrid technology licensed from Toyota.

Kogai said that fuel economy is expected to be on a par with that of Toyota’s Prius C (Aqua in Japan) which is rated at 35.4km per litre (83.2mpg) in Japan.