Mazda, whose rapid UK sales growth should push sales of the brand up to nearly 3% of the market in 2007, is recruiting extra dealers to cope with demand.

Managing director Phil Waring said he had been forced to revise sales volumes and dealer numbers upwards.

He said: "We should break through the 2% barrier next year by selling 52,000 cars rising to close to 58,000 in 2006 and onwards and upwards in 2007 to 70,000 units."

His original target for an expanded sales network was to grow from 145 to 156 dealers but that has been revised to 185 because "market territories which were not on the radar screen will become viable propositions, places like Grantham in Lincolnshire."

Waring will interview "one or two prospects" at the Birmingham motor show.

He added: "We have developed a strategy for smaller and regional groups plus collaborative business models which make good money."

Potential retailers are being attracted by the new range and a 2.5% profit on turnover.

Waring admitted that much of the growth would come from a new small car to slot in below the 2, which is built at Ford's Valencia factory, alongside the Fiesta.

Mazda will provide the platform for the next small B-sector car, which will be shared by the Fiesta.