Mazda Introduces the Protege All-Sport Concept Wagon

30 December 1998

Mazda Introduces the Protege All-Sport Concept Wagon
      Sport-Utility Wagon Evokes Heritage of the Mazda 323 GTX Rally Car

    LOS ANGELES, Dec. 30 -- Yesterday at the LA Auto Show, Mazda
North American Operations (MNAO) unveiled the Mazda Protege All-Sport Concept
Wagon, an all-season, all-wheel-drive (AWD) sportwagon with aggressive,
European-inspired styling and spirited performance.  Based on the right-hand
drive Japanese and European five-door wagon version of the all-new Protege
sedan, the Protege All-Sport evokes the heritage of Mazda's 1988-89 323 GTX,
the first all-wheel-drive "rally car for the street."  The All-Sport
designation first appeared on Mazda's MPV sport-utility van, and conveys the
wagon's go-anywhere attitude and style.
    "Clearly, crossover vehicles are a rapidly growing segment of the
industry.  We are showing the vehicle in Los Angeles to see if there is
sufficient demand in the market for a vehicle of this type," said Martin R.
Leach, managing director of product planning for Mazda Motor Corporation.  "We
feel the Greater L.A. Auto Show is the perfect venue to gauge the reaction of
media and consumers to the Protege All-Sport because Southern California is
the car culture capital of the world."
    The Mazda Protege All-Sport has a 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder
engine that produces 136-horsepower and is mated to an all-new, four-speed,
electronically-controlled automatic transmission.  A Sport mode makes it
possible to shift up or down manually when driving in the D-range.
    The Protege All-Sport concept also features four-wheel disc brakes,
17-inch wheels and full-time all-wheel-drive.  Ride height has been raised for
increased ground clearance and enhanced visibility.
    With its chiseled good looks, the Protege All-Sport's bold fender flares,
muscular shoulders, taut flanks and hard edges convey an aggressive attitude
and rugged appearance.  Its two-tone green and gray paint scheme evokes images
of the outdoors.  The upper half is Meadow Green, while the bumpers, fender
flares and body cladding add a gray tone, highlighting the performance and
design features of the vehicle.  The front and rear skid plates are a titanium
color.  The Protege All-Sport was styled at Mazda's Hiroshima, Japan design
center.
    Elements of the powerful front face include Mazda's distinctive five-point
grille and air intake fitted with rugged mesh grilles, quad multi-reflector
headlamps and large round fog lights.  Dual exhaust pipes exit through a
custom rear fascia, while a spoiler helps keep the rear window clear.
    The rugged Protege All-Sport features Mazda's unique "Triple H"
construction.  These reinforced and gusseted frames create an extremely strong
passenger compartment structure that ensures optimal protection in the event
of a side impact or rollover.
    The interior is highlighted with green trim on the leather-wrapped shift
lever and NARDI(R) steering wheel.  The seats are leather and dimpled suede,
with green trim and stitching.  The center console, selector lever faceplate
and power window switch panel on the door trim are titanium in color.  The
interior also features a satellite navigation system for worry-free backwoods
driving, a driver and front-seat passenger air bag Supplemental Restraint
System (SRS) and front-seat side impact airbags.
    Additional features include front and rear seatbacks that fold forward
flat so they can be used as tables.  Mazda's award-winning OptiSpace design,
which optimizes interior space and minimizes the space required by the
mechanicals, leaves plenty of room for five passengers and their cargo.
    Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the research and
development, sales and marketing, and customer parts and service support of
Mazda vehicles in the United States.  Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO
has approximately 800 dealerships nationwide and is owned by Mazda Motor
Corporation, Hiroshima, Japan.



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