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Ariale Colosseum, Tokyo, Japan, October 15, 2003

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Akira Tanioka, Program Manager of Mazda Axcala/Mazda3

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'm Akira Tanioka, program manager of the all-new Mazda Axela.

I'm very proud and excited to introduce the all-new Mazda Axela today. The launch event makes me feel like a nervous father. I am recalling that I was watching my young daughter play the piano at the school art festival.

As you all may know, there are four steps in vehicle development process. They are "planning," "design," "testing," and finally "preparation for manufacturing."

Planning involves developing product strategy such as identifying markets and key competition in each market. The all-new Mazda Axela was developed to compete around the world. We decided to design and develop this vehicle against strong competition such as Volkswagen Golf, Peugeot 307 and Ford Focus.

For Mazda, the decision meant that a young up-and-coming sumo wrestler was to put up a fight against a seasoned and skilled champion. But the challenge did not scare us. A team of Mazda designers and engineers at R&D stood up to the challenge to produce the all-new Mazda Axela. We're fully confident that this fantastic product has a great potential and charm to compete and win in major markets around the world.

Let me highlight the Mazda Axela's charm with three key values. We've identified the three key values as DESIGN, CRAFTSMANSHIP, and DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE.

Firstly on DESIGN. Attractive design is something essential for a vehicle that customers die to show off to their friends.

We've kept our focus on two things when designing this product. First, we wanted to create a styling that immediately grabbed attention and emotions. Secondly, we wanted styling that never lost initial appeal, something that withstands the test of time. In other words, we wanted exciting design with everlasting appeal.

Please take a look at the stage. The all-new Mazda Axela offers two body types – five-door and four-door. The five-door is characterized by edgy and distinctive styling, while four-door has a sporty coupe look. Both five-door and four-door share a sense of luxury, which is essential to the Axela's enduring design. I'd like all of you to take a close look at rear design. The Axela's rear design, both five-door and four-door, commanded much attention and high acclaim at European drive appraisals. Totally new styling that's never offered by other manufacturers! We did not forget to add "Sports Appearance Package" to the Mazda Axela line-up. The Sports Appearance Package gets special grille, bumpers, side skirts, rear spoiler and 17-inch tires to produce a sporty style for customers wanting something sportier and aggressive.

Let's move on to the interior. Again "sporty" look was created in the smallest detail. Sporty theme runs consistent inside for customers to feel just as excited as they first took a look at the vehicle, with three triple gauges and metallic parts.

The second key value is CRAFTSMANSHIP. Craftsmanship comes from works of great artisans and craftsmen, but again this is one of the essences of everlasting design. We wanted Mazda's craftsmanship translated to "kind to five human senses".

The Mazda Axela was built with a checklist of 1,500 items, and these are sound of door opening and closing, feel of driver's seat, look around instrument panel, grip on the steering wheel to name but a few. In addition to quality fit and finish and functional beauty, we made sure that every detail of the Mazda Axela delighted our customers. Simply put, we wanted items that gave delightful surprise to customers. Let's take an example. The triple gauges on some grades include black meter with blue indirect lighting with theater-dimming effect when turning on the ignition, for a sense of delightful surprise and luxury.

The third key value is DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE. Most of us think that dynamic performances mean "fun to drive", but we wanted to realize "safety speed" as a part of the DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE package.

You may be wondering what "safety speed" is, and I will explain in a minute.

When you drive a car and accelerate, you start to get a variety of danger signals, like engine note, wind noise, sound of tires, and body vibration when changing a lane. These "signals" make you feel the speed and you begin to feel tense. With vehicles that are highly reputed in Europe, you only feel these signals when you drive at a very high speed. In other words, these vehicles offer wider range of speed at which you feel "safe." These vehicles have excellent "safety speed" range, meaning you feel just as comfortable and secure whether you drive at 140 kilometers per hour or at 100 kilometers per hour.

In order to achieve this, you need to enhance total performance including handling, steering and NVH and so on. "Safety speed" tested Mazda's technological and engineering standard, and we came up with a vehicle that's "fun to drive" without getting tense whenever you accelerate.

Body rigidity played particularly important role in achieving "safety speed." Let me give you an example. Think about two buildings, one built with concrete and another with wood. Compared to a wooden structure, a concrete structure is not only more rigid but better shuts off noise and vibration from outside. For us to provide wider range of "safety speed," we needed to ensure exceptionally high body rigidity, like a concrete structure. We've added reinforcements illustrated on the video to the body to improve flexural rigidity by 40 percent. Furthermore, stiffness of the root of suspension tower introduced from the Mazda Atenza had been greatly improved. Greatly improved rigidity of these parts are just like reinforcements on angles connecting pillars and beams of residential structure. Next, we made sure that highly rigid body was combined with suspension possessing great potential. Front suspension received sub frame and rubber mounts on four points that attach to the body. Lower arms were quipped with liquid-injected mount. This is an advanced technique to greatly reduce vibration caused by tires, normally found in CD cars. Rear suspension is multi-link normally found in CD cars. Total of 22 links connected to bush dramatically suppressing vibration caused by tires. Greatly improved dynamics require highly reliable brake, and we've up rated the Axela's brake size achieving responsive pedal feel and top of the class braking distance. Mazda's next-generation MZR I-4 DOHC engine has been evolved to power the all-new Mazda Axela. In addition to 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter commonly featured in compact vehicles, 2.3-liter has been added to complete the Axela engine line-up. All of the these three engines are U-LEV standard, and part of 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter engine line-up meet the green tax regulations. I'm confident that everyone who sits behind the steering wheel of the all-new Mazda Axela enjoys torqueful driving and refreshingly fun acceleration.

I've secretly devised a special dynamics assessment modes to test the Mazda Axela. One is a mode set to drive a single lap on high-speed test circuit without your hands on the steering wheel. Another mode was set to testing a vehicle at 180 kilometers per hour on top of the bank at high-speed test course, then immediately decelerate to low-speed drive lane. You may call it a roller-coaster mode. I remember testing a European luxury saloon that' felt so smooth you felt like gliding on a velvet carpet, and I am very proud to tell you that I had exactly the same drive feel with the all-new Mazda Axela. It proved that Mazda had achieved desirable "safety speed" in the Axela.

So far I've outlined the product with three key values – DESIGN, CRAFTSMANSHIP, and DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE. I know that Mazda achieved a great success with the all-new Axela and I would personally like to congratulate and thank every member of our R&D team who gave 100 plus percent of dedication and commitment to the Axela's success.

Every vehicle is built with 25,000 to 35,000 parts, and the fact shows that building a car requires just as many numbers of experts and professionals. My responsibility was to maximize our engineer's skills and motivation, and I believe that they did an excellent job. My belief as a leader is that success is only possible by a strong team and the team's efforts.

You're looking at photos of members of the Axela R&D team. Every member put 100 plus percent in his or her specialized area to build the Mazda Axela. They all look proud and happy, aren't they? A great sense of achievement and confidence in this product shines through their faces.

I'd personally like to invite you to take a close look at the all-new Mazda Axela after the presentations. I challenge you to tell us what you think about this great new product, and I'm looking forward to having a big celebration with the team tonight with glasses of chilled beer!

With that I'd like to conclude my speech. Thank you all for your attention.
 

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*applause*

Sweet!...
okay, Mr. Tanioka, put some out on the dealership floor!!!
talk is cheap without product ;)



atleast we know what the philosophy was behind it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The bit about safety speed is very noice to hear, as is this: "I've secretly devised a special dynamics assessment modes to test the Mazda Axela. One is a mode set to drive a single lap on high-speed test circuit without your hands on the steering wheel. Another mode was set to testing a vehicle at 180 kilometers per hour on top of the bank at high-speed test course, then immediately decelerate to low-speed drive lane. You may call it a roller-coaster mode. I remember testing a European luxury saloon that' felt so smooth you felt like gliding on a velvet carpet, and I am very proud to tell you that I had exactly the same drive feel with the all-new Mazda Axela. It proved that Mazda had achieved desirable "safety speed" in the Axela. "

This guy is good! 180km/h ans smooth... The 2.0 is limited at 188km/h BTW, meaning 117mph.
 

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Great Read!! Thanks.

I cant wait to get my hands on one and try out that "safety sp33d" :lol:
 

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Isn't there a speed limiter on the Mazda 3? :p
It's on the 2.0L as far as I know.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just got confirmation from Bruno (he reads the site but is too lazy to set a profile for himself - J/K Bruno!) that both engines are limited at 188km/h.
 

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bleah, I won't even reach 188 km/h in autoX... or even the highway :p
 
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