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September 16, 2009

FRANKFURT SHOW: Mazda plans new minivan for Europe

Mazda will unveil a new 5 minivan at next year's Geneva show and is also working on a smaller crossover-type SUV based on the current 3, Jeffrey Guyton, president and CEO of Mazda Motors Europe said in Frankfurt.

Mazda will unveil a new 5 minivan at next year’s Geneva show and is also working on a smaller crossover-type SUV based on the current 3, Jeffrey Guyton, president and CEO of Mazda Motors Europe said in Frankfurt.

“Any new model we develop has to be global to achieve the necessary volumes,” he said.

This is one of the reasons that Mazda is not developing niche models. Instead it plans to launch new petrol and diesel powertrains from 2011 that will be 20% more efficient than existing engines largely thanks to better combustion technology.

“New vehicle platforms and lightweight engineering will further improve that by 2015 when our target is a 30% improvement in economy for all our cars,” said Guyton. 

The new CX-7 diesel, unveiled at the Frankfurt show, gives Mazda a chance to expand its appeal. Up to now it’s been a single 2.3-litre petrol, manual-only model line trying to compete with European and US rivals offering multiple engine and transmission choices.

“It’s like having a new market since it gives us an opportunity to increase our fleet business,” he said.

Increasing fleet business is one way Mazda will begin its recovery. “The UK is a success for fleet business but it’s not the same elsewhere in Europe in markets like Germany, Spain and Belgium.”

Guyton predicted the European car market would fall to around 13m units in 2010, from an estimated 15m this year as scrappage schemes end.

“I don’t see any dramatic recovery. Western European markets will remain flat and eastern European markets will be very low or at the best down.”

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