Fleet News

Mazda makes a return to its sexy image

MAZDA is planning to return to its 'sexy sporting' heritage with the unveiling of a high performance 626 and a four-door four-seat sports car. The Geneva Motor Show was also the venue for the unveiling of the restyled Demio MPV and all-new Tribute 4x4 which was first seen at the Los Angeles Auto Show and is similar to Ford's new Maverick also launched at Geneva.

Mazda was known for superbly engined and designed sports cars but when Ford took a controlling interest in the Japanese manufacturer, it vowed to transform the brand into a mainstream player around the world. With models such as the 323 and the 626 Mazda lost its sporting heritage but increased sales and profitability and now the company is aiming to combine the two facets, according to Mazda UK managing director Tim Tozer.

The Demio will go on sale in the UK in May and boasts major changes both internally and externally. The vehicle features a new 1.5-litre 74bhp engine which replaces the 1.3-litre 71bhp unit; although the 1.3-litre 62bhp powerplant is retained. Additional specification includes twin airbags and ABS. The Tribute will enter UK showrooms early next year and will be available with a choice of 2.0-litre or 3.0-litre V6 petrol engines mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Specification includes twin front airbags and side airbags and ABS brakes.

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