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http://www.motortrend.com/features/news/112_news009/

Mazda to Develop Subcompact with Ford
Associated Press - December 4, 2003


Motor Trend
Japan's Mazda Motor Corp. said Thursday it will lead the joint development of a next-generation subcompact with its parent, Ford Motor Co. of the United States.

It will be the fifth car jointly developed by Mazda and Ford, but the Hiroshima-based automaker will direct the effort for the first time, said Mazda spokesman Katsumi Yoshitake.

Yoshitake said the companies just recently launched the project. He refused to provide other details, including the development cost of the vehicle and how many cars they plan to produce.

The Nihon Keizai, Japan's leading business daily, said the compact will go on sale in 2007.

Mazda plans to make 150,000 of the cars and Ford will produce about 350,000 each year, the newspaper reported without citing sources. The companies will cut production costs by increasing their shared parts, the report said.

Ford, which holds a 33.4 percent stake in Mazda, directed the joint development of two previous subcompact models, the Demio subcompact and the Mazda 3, or the Axela, Yoshitake said.

The two automakers also worked together on the Tribute sport-utility vehicle and the Atenza sedan, sold as the Mazda 6 in the United States.

Mazda's shares closed up 1.5 percent to 277 yen (US$2.6) Thursday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press
 

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Kazbaeden said:
What'll this one be? The Mazda 1? =P
I wonder where Mazda is going with the naming. I see the 3 and 6, but then you have the MX-5 Miata, the RX-8, B-Series Truck, and the Tribute. It would be interesting to hear what Mazda is planning.

Let's just hope the subcompact is nicer than the Echo, Aveo, and Rio.
 

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I believe it's probably the Mazda 2 already in England?
Atleast it sounds like it :)
 

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Sound interesting, you can definitely tell manufacturers in the US are starting to push compact cars a little more. I can't wait till the SUV craze is over here, damn soccer moms! Anyone know of design concepts released for this new mazda?
 

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I think Ford wants a subcompact that's smaller than the Mazda2, or at least shorter. If they're aiming at the small sedan/coupe market, the Mazda2 is not the right car. It's a micro-MPV where the Rio, Accent and (one version of) Aveo are sedans. Plus Ford Europe already sells a micro-MPV called the Fusion. They were looking at bringing that car to NA but it's a bit small and underpowered (1.5L I4) to compete with the Matrix and too tall to sell as an entry-level car.



I think it's more likely it'll be an all-new model. Mazda1 doesn't sound very catchy but that's the idea. I also wouldn't count on Mazda selling such a car in NA. Mazda's pushing upmarket into VW's old niche. Mazdas should be the cars kids want to save up for, not bargain-basement cars.
 
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