The company's financial performance had improved and research and development spending was being increased to further strengthen its product line-up. Wallace singled out the UK for special mention following the company's 45% sales increase in 1996 over 1995. He called 1997 'a year of growth' for Mazda as the company focused on five key areas: customer satisfaction, product, sales, financial improvement and new and emerging markets.
Mazda is to import a new pick-up van to the UK in autumn 1998 to boost its existing light commercial vehicle line-up. The vehicle is being built in Thailand in partnership with Ford, which owns a third of Mazda.