On 25 June 2003, Mazda Motor Corporation began production of its next 'new generation' vehicle. The new product – to be named "Axela" in the Japanese market and Mazda3 in Europe – is the fourth all-new Mazda developed under the company's DNA-focused product development programme. Mazda3 will build on the success of Mazda’s new-generation product line-up, which includes the award-winning Mazda6 (known as the Atenza in Japan), Mazda2 (Demio) and Mazda RX-8. The newest Mazda will be officially launched at the 60th Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2003 and will go on sale in Europe later this year.
Designed to blur the lines of conventional vehicle segmentation, Mazda3 offers traditional C-segment customers more in terms of design, craftsmanship and interior packaging; as well as a driving experience associated worldwide with European-built vehicles. Recent Mazda products, developed and built using these same targets, have helped the company achieve critical product acclaim from customers and media, including more than 50 international awards for the Mazda6/Atenza and the "2003 International Engine of the Year" award for the RENESIS rotary engine in the new Mazda RX-8.
The new Mazda3 embodies the design direction presented by the Mazda MX Sportif concept, which was showcased at the Geneva Motor Show this past March. Mazda’s brand DNA – stylish, insightful and spirited – is evident throughout the vehicle. Key development targets for new Mazda3 included:
- A prominent and well-defined Mazda design based on distinct, muscular proportions and dynamic athleticism
- Highest levels of craftsmanship and quality to ensure high value for customers
- Superbly balanced vehicle dynamics able to deliver class-leading Mazda driving pleasure that is often associated with European-built cars
- Optimal interior space and innovative package solutions to maximise usability
In the critical Japanese market, where the vehicle will see an autumn debut, the name Axela was developed by combining the English words "accelerate" and "excellent". This name was created to communicate the youthful exhilaration of fun driving – acceleration – with infinite possibilities, as represented in "X".Published 29 June 2003