Mazda Designers and Contest Winner to Build Concept Car During Duration of the 2007 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show


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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 12, 2007 -- For the first time ever in the automotive industry, Mazda's designers and a special guest will sculpt a clay model concept car live on stage during the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show as part of a culmination of the "Mazda Design Challenge." Mazda sought out designers to help create the 2018 MAZDA3, Mazda's best-selling car globally, by hosting a contest on Facebook.com.

Facebook members across the United States competed by submitting their design ideas. The winner of the competition, Mallory McMorrow, an industrial design student from the University of Notre Dame, will work with Franz von Holzhausen, director of design, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO), and his team, to bring the concept to life in the Mazda booth. Work on the model will begin on the first media day, November 14, and the final concept will be unveiled on Saturday, November 24, at 3:00 pm.

To enter, contestants submitted a 150-word description of their vision of the 2018 MAZDA3 and an optional sketch drawing. The Mazda Design team then judged each entry, choosing 10 semi-finalists. Five finalists were chosen by the Facebook community. Each of the five finalists were paired with a Mazda designer to hone their concept, which was then judged and voted on in a second round by fellow Facebook members.

"The Mazda Design Challenge brought in a flood of cool, unique design ideas. The winning design concept is a fresh new way to look at the design of a vehicle," said von Holzhausen. "This competition was a tremendous success, and this entire process was really beneficial to my team and me to understand what design means to our target buyers. Now the hard part comes -- to see if we can actually build a full concept car on the show stand in 10 days and in full view of show goers."

In addition, Mazda will showcase the new 2008 CX-9 crossover SUV and three-row, six-passenger MAZDA5 multi-activity vehicle, along with the 40th Anniversary RX-8 and the first rotary vehicle that started it all, the 1967 Cosmo Sport.

CX-9

Recently named Motor Trend's 2008 Sport/Utility of the Year, CX-9 deftly blends sporty driving spirit with seven-passenger sport-utility vehicle (SUV) practicality. For 2008, CX-9 reaches a higher level of performance with a new standard 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine, resulting in ten more horsepower (273) and 21 additional lb-ft of torque (270) compared to 2007. Also new for the 2008 model year is a Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) system, which helps see and prevent the unexpected. Available on Grand Touring models, the BSM system is designed to assist the driver by monitoring the detection areas on both sides of the vehicle to the rear and will alert the driver to possible vehicles in these areas.

"Launched just last year, CX-9 garnered rave reviews, and was hailed as one of the very best in class. However, Mazda is not a company that allows complacency, so we're always looking for ways to improve our products -- even when they're already first-rate," said Robert Davis, senior vice president, product development and quality, MNAO. "With the 2008 CX-9, we had an opportunity to increase the engine's displacement a bit, resulting in a significant performance increase -- a great product made better."

MAZDA5

Another heavily updated vehicle for 2008 is the MAZDA5. Only Mazda would have the engineering ingenuity to merge two automotive functions -- a large sport utility vehicle (SUV) and a fun-to-drive sports car. Mazda demonstrates its infusion of stylish, insightful and energetic vehicles with the MAZDA5 -- a three-row, six-passenger multi-activity sports vehicle infused with sports car inspiration. But, unlike most sports cars, the MAZDA5 easily and efficiently transports six people and the equipment that goes with their busy lives. There truly is nothing like it on the market today.

The 2008 MAZDA5 gets a makeover, with new front fascia, grille, headlights and taillights design. A new five-speed automatic transmission, rear cool air vents, improved gas mileage, arm rests and a standard auxiliary audio input jack are among some of the new or enhanced features for 2008. These new features give MAZDA5 a sophisticated look and feel beyond its price point. In addition, MAZDA5 Grand Touring models come equipped with standard security alarm, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, auto on/off headlights, heated door mirrors and rain-sensing wipers.

40 YEARS OF ROTARY

On May 30, 1967, Mazda launched the world's first twin-rotor rotary engined car, the Mazda Cosmo Sport. In the years between, Mazda has produced nearly two million vehicles powered by the rotary engine.

The first vehicle Mazda sold in the United States was the 1970 R100, powered by the rotary engine. It was followed by the RX-2, RX-3, RX-4 and RX-5 Cosmo. The 1970s even saw Mazda install the rotary engine in its Rotary Pickup truck. When Mazda launched the now-legendary RX-7 in 1979, it really shook up the sports-car establishment and set sales records never before seen with sports cars. And when the company launched the innovative four-door sports car RX-8 in 2003, the rotary engine saw a dramatic update with the introduction of side porting, resulting in greatly reduced exhaust emissions and improved performance.

Looking towards the future, Mazda remains committed to the rotary engine for the long run. After nearly five decades of development, the company has capitalized on the fact that rotary technology is uniquely suited to burning hydrogen as a fuel, especially as compared to conventional piston engines. Mazda has been experimenting with research and development into both hydrogen-fueled rotaries and hydrogen rotary hybrid-electric vehicles as well, and already has hydrogen-fueled rotary-powered RX-8s on the road in Japan.

To help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the rotary engine, Mazda will offer a limited edition 40th Anniversary RX-8. Available in early 2008, the 40th Anniversary RX-8 will feature a special Metropolitan Gray exterior color with a Cosmo Red leather interior color scheme, unique 18-inch alloy wheels, suspension enhancements, fog lamps, silver engine cover and special badging.

The balance of Mazda's full 2008 lineup will also be on display at the show including the CX-7, Tribute, Tribute HEV, MAZDA3, MAZDA6 and MAZDASPEED3.

The Greater Los Angeles Auto Show is open to the public November 16-25, 2007, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

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