'We aim to be highly competitive in this burgeoning sector. Our car will have a 1.3-litre engine and come with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions,' he said. Due around spring, Demio is set to lead five new product introductions next year as part of plans to win the Japanese brand a higher share of UK registrations. It will be followed by a two-litre common-rail diesel version of the 626, a heavily-revised MX-5 offering higher power in lighter bodywork, a new 323 and a new pick-up truck.
But despite the introductions, Mazda is telling its dealer network that it is expecting growth of less than 10 per cent to follow this year's spectacular expansion of 30 per cent following a decision to steer clear of 'buying' market share.
'We could easily accelerate our growth by expanding into daily rental deals, but this would detract from our main aim, which is to protect the residual values we have worked so hard to achieve over the last few months,' said Heslop. 'Mazda used to be seen as a distinctive niche car. In future, I want it to be recognised as a distinctive car which appeals to a much broader market. I want us to have sustained, profitable growth.'