Mazda Goes For Local Knowledge

Mazda’s concept cars will truly reflect their local region in the future - while the Sassou concept unveiled at the Frankfurt Show was designed and built by company’s team in Germany, the Senku concept at the Tokyo show was the product of home-town Hiroshima.

And, at the Detroit Show in January, Mazda will be showing off the work of its California-based design department.

Design chief, Brit Moray Callum - now based in Hiroshima - said: "Rather than having our design teams compete with each other for each car, we have decided to give them all their ‘home’ concepts - but that does not take off the competitive edge. Everyone wants the best concept."

Senku, one of the stars of the Tokyo Show, takes the concept of the RX-8, the rotary-engined four-seater sports car to a new level.

Callum said: "We’re sensitive to the need for ever-better environmental compatibility and safety and the need to address the different priorities of different generations of car users.

"Consequently, we’re clearly focused on developing vehicles that meet environmental and social needs while delivering Mazda’s hallmark Zoom-Zoom performance.

"The Mazda Senku concept gives a glimpse of one direction in which our thinking and priorities may take us. Specifically, it reflects the outcome of a study on the development of a four-seater rotary-engine powered sports car."

One of the most striking aspects of the show car was its Ingot Silver body colour giving the look that is evocative of freshly cast steel. "Inspiration came from the cutlery in a restaurant" added Callum.

Also standing out were the ‘flying wings’ doors with their 800mm-wide aperture while inside the standard seat positioning in the Senku is based on a two-seater mode. With this feature, space is prioritized for the front-seat occupants; the area immediately behind them can be used for personal effects such as a jacket or briefcase.

By tipping forward the top part of each rear seatback, it is possible to create a full luggage mode that offers greater capacity. Repositioning a panel opens up a 2+2 mode that accommodates four people.

So with Frankfurt and Tokyo taken care of - what can we expect at Detroit. "You will just have to wait and see," said Callum.

Published 4 November 2005 Melanie Carter

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