Mazda Introduces the Stylish, Sporty MPV Concept Minivan
6 January 1999Mazda Introduces the Stylish, Sporty MPV Concept Minivan; Mazda Redefines the Minivan, Again
DETROIT, Jan. 5 -- Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today unveiled the dramatic MPV concept minivan at the North American International Auto Show. "We wanted to do a minivan that was uniquely Mazda, and the MPV concept is the latest expression of Mazda's 'Get in. Be Moved.' brand promise," said Richard Beattie, president and CEO of MNAO. "The MPV concept redefines the minivan, proving that a minivan doesn't have to be a box on wheels. We brought style and sophistication to the minivan, inside and out, and put the 'zoom' in the minivan." With its European-inspired good looks, the MPV concept's imposing front end features Mazda's distinctive five-point grille and brand symbol, fog lights, and sophisticated multi-reflector head lamps. Front and rear spoilers, aerodynamic side sills, chrome trim, and 18-inch alloy wheels and performance tires highlight the concept MPV's sportiness, giving it a customized look. Styled at Mazda's Hiroshima, Japan design center, the concept MPV follows Mazda's new "Contrast in Harmony" corporate design philosophy, which blends contrasting design elements such as soft and sharp, light and shadow, and static and dynamic. "Contrast in Harmony" is inspired by nature: a still lake mirroring a rugged mountain range. The sharp edges and smooth curves of sand dunes sculpted by the wind. Bright sunshine and deep shadows. "Smart" features include stowing the spare tire underneath the vehicle rather than inside, center row seats that move both fore/aft and sideways, creating either a bench seat or captain's chairs, a tumble-under third-row seat that folds flat into the floor, and dual sliding doors with roll-down windows and hidden tracks in the window channels. "We looked at power sliding doors," said Martin R. Leach, managing director of product planning for Mazda Motor Corporation. "But the MPV concept's doors are light, easy to operate, and most important, trouble-free." Bucking the "bigger is better" trend that has seen some minivans nearly become full-sized vans, the MPV concept is "smart-sized." It is fuel- efficient, easy to drive and park. Its short nose and expansive glass provides optimum road visibility and maneuverability. Dramatic styling and smart-sizing are also carried over into the interior, highlighted by a stylish instrument panel and V-shaped center console. Mazda's award-winning OptiSpace design process, which is a step beyond cab- forward design, allowed Mazda to realize a spacious, highly functional interior, which offers an overhead console, a generous amount of convenient, built-in storage compartments, and a multitude of cup holders. With front-wheel drive and dual stabilizer bars, the MPV concept offers car-like handling performance and features a high-tech DOHC, 24-valve, 170- horsepower V6 engine for a rewarding driving experience. 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.