Tuesday, March 31, 1998

B-Series Pickup Truck

Mazda Motor Corporation announced today that their all-new Mazda B-series pickup truck, intended for and assembled in Thailand, made its world-premiere at the 19th International Bangkok Motor Show. The new B-series will reach Mazda dealerships throughout Thailand this fall.

Mazda B-Series Pickup
New Mazda B-Series

Mazda's long-standing commitment to producing quality vehicles for customers in Thailand dates back to 1950. Since then, the Mazda brand, supported by a wide range of products, has been acclaimed among drivers in Thailand for its unprecedented quality, durability, reliability and economy. The new B-series pickup trucks continue in that tradition, and will take their place among Mazda's already stellar line-up of vehicles in Thailand to further enrich motoring life there.

With a next generation pickup in mind, Mazda designed and built "a powerful yet sedan-like truck" to satisfy the diverse needs of motorists both on and off road in Thailand.

The B-series pickup truck on display is a four-wheel-drive (4WD) diesel turbo model with high quality trim and new "Dusk Green" exterior paint. A 2WD model will also be available.

The new pickup truck comes equipped with an already proven 2.5-liter naturally aspirated diesel engine or a newly developed powerful yet smooth-revving 2.5-liter turbo-charged diesel engine with an intercooler, an option on the high-end 4WD trim models. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, but a four-speed automatic transmission is also available.

Mazda's B-series pickup truck enters the market in Thailand after experiencing a long-history of recognized success. The virtues of the B-series pickup truck, such as its high quality, durability and driving stability have been acknowledged by automotive experts and honored through a series of awards.

In the fiercely competitive U.S. truck market, the Mazda B-series was ranked best in JD Power's Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) for three consecutive years from 1986 to 1988. Most recently, the B-series pickup truck won a Silver Award for the "Best 4WD Utility" presented by "4X4 Magazine" in Australia.

James E. Miller, president of Mazda Motor Corporation said of this cooperative endeavor, "It is not too much for us to say that Thailand is Mazda's second homeland, where we can see a heartfelt understanding and enthusiasm from all people and associates. By introducing the all new B-series pickup truck, a symbol of international cooperation, into the Thailand market, we hope we can contribute to the enrichment of the lives of Thai people."

Mass-production of the new B-series will start in the middle of this year at AutoAlliance (Thailand) Company Limited, located in the Eastern Seabord Industrial Estate in Thailand's Rayong Province. This unique joint company is 45% owned by Mazda Motor Corporation, 45% by Ford Motor Company, and the remaining 10% split equally between two Thai partners, Sukosol and Mazda Co. Ltd. and the KPN Group Corp. Ltd.

The 19th International Bangkok Motor Show, being held for the first time at the new Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center (BITEC), will open to the public from April 1 to April 9.

Find more news and information at www.mazda.com

Friday, March 27, 1998

Mazda Digital Innovation

Mazda Motor Corporation announced today its plan to commence Phase 2 of the Mazda Digital Innovation (MDI),* an important management initiative that renovates all processes from vehicle planning to manufacturing using cutting-edge information technology.

Mazda plans to invest an additional \5.5 billion for Phase 2. When combined with Phase 1, Mazda's cumulative spending will reach \23.5 billion. With the Phase 2 investment, Mazda will begin operations, starting next spring, with the single use of SDRC's** I-DEAS MS software for the 3D CAD system, the nucleus of the MDI support system. The current use of the dual software application, I-DEAS MS and Mazda-developed New-GNC, will be halted. With this change, the number of engineering workstations will be increased, and I-DEAS MS system engineer training will be expanded.

These initiatives will enable Mazda to utilize advanced I-DEAS MS software integrated with CAE/CAM as superior design tool, ahead of other automotive manufacturers in Japan. With the implementation of these systems, design iteration and analysis functions will be strengthened and overall efficiency in quality design and R&D processes will be further accelerated.

At the start of Phase 2 this April, Mazda will activate operations of new machines and equipment which were introduced during Phase 1 of the project at a prototype shop, assembly shops, and testing laboratories.

At the prototype shop in the Hiroshima plant, Mazda introduced six super-speed, high precision machining centers from Makino Fraise Inc. (Japan), the world leader in this area. These state-of-the-art machines contribute to reducing the time and cost of making dies and prototype parts.

Additionally, to improve the quality of prototypes, pilot cars and mass-produced cars, five large highly accurate, 3D computer measuring devices were procured from Carl-Zeiss, a leading German manufacturer of measuring devices. These tools will be used at the prototype shop and at Hiroshima and Hofu production plants.

At testing laboratories, three new simulators, including a multi-axial road simulator and a multi-axial simulation table, for vehicle and component durability and rigidity testing were introduced to achieve high precision analysis data in a shorter period of time. These simulators were purchased from MTS Systems (Minnesota, USA). Digital data obtained by these simulators will be feedback through Mazda's LAN network to be used for quality design and engineering to further improve Mazda products.

As a part of the MDI Project, Mazda will continue to promote laboratory testing through the use of such advanced testing technology to achieve overall efficiency in product development.

* *MDI: Mazda introduced the MDI project at the end of 1996 to renovate all processes from the new car planning stage through to its manufacturing stage. To do so, Mazda utilizes the latest information technology and advanced tools.
This project will enable Mazda to strengthen its position in the increasingly competitive automotive industry into the 21th century.

* **SDRC: Structural Dynamics Research Corporation

Find more news and information at www.mazda.com

Thursday, March 19, 1998

European operations

Mazda Motor Corporation today announced plans to further strengthen its European operations in 1998 as it prepares to build upon its past successes and position itself to achieve its business objectives by the year 2000.

Mazda Motor Europe (MME) is to be reorganized and will be enhanced by the recruitment of several key European executives to drive the company forward into the next millennium.

The changes have been designed to enable Mazda to achieve its key objectives of 2% market share and top customer satisfaction ranking by the year 2000 as well as to improve parts and accessories sales, profitability, and brand image.

The first step is for Mazda Motor Europe to establish in June a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Mazda Motor Europe GmbH, in Leverkusen, Germany. Corporate planning, sales and marketing strategy, and customer service functions of Mazda Motor Europe S.A./N.V. and Mazda Motor Parts Center (Europe) S.A./N.V. in Belgium will be consolidated and transferred to Mazda Motor Europe GmbH, alongside Mazda Motor (Deutschland) GmbH.

Some support functions, such as training and human resources will be rationalized between Mazda Motor Europe GmbH and Mazda Motors (Deutschland) GmbH. to enhance efficiency. However, these two companies will remain separate and operate independently.

Mr. Hiraiwa, President of Mazda Motor Europe, explained, "Germany was the logical choice for MME to relocate since it is Europe's biggest market, the home of Europe's strongest manufacturers, and Mazda's largest European market. We must get closer to the European markets by improving our knowledge and understanding-so Germany is the obvious place to do this." He added, "From this strong base we can develop the rest of our European aspirations."

The next step in reorganizing will be to consolidate Mazda Motor Europe S.A./N.V and Mazda Motor Parts Center (Europe) S.A./N.V in Belgium in June to handle parts and vehicle logistics at the parts distribution center in Brussels and the port of Antwerp.

All of these reorganization efforts are designed not only to strengthen Mazda's key operations from the Pan-European perspective, but to increase efficiency by centralizing key functions and rationalizing duplicated roles across the three companies, resulting in fewer redundancies.

Mr. Hiraiwa said: "Our sales in Europe during 1997 reached 210,000 which was an increase of almost 10 per cent over 1996. We now intend to build upon our success by further improving our position in Europe. With many important and exciting new products on the way-starting soon with the new MX-5, the direct injection turbo diesel 626, and a European version of the popular Demio-Mazda clearly has a wonderful opportunity to achieve its objectives."

Mazda Motor Corporation's Research and Development Representative Office in Oberurusel, near Frankfurt, is not directly affected by the reorganization, although it will benefit from closer communications with MME.

Find more news and information at www.mazda.com

Tuesday, March 17, 1998

New Three-way Catalyst

Mazda Motor Corporation has developed a new three-way catalyst for gasoline engines to improve its performance of purifying pollutants in exhaust emissions.

Mazda's New Three-way Catalyst
Mazda's New Three-way Catalyst

A catalyst, in general, starts to react to purify pollutants such as hydrocarbon (HC), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in emissions when its temperature reaches between 250°C-300°C. For greater environmental protection, it is necessary to reduce these pollutants before the temperature reaches this level during the engine's cold driving cycle.

Current three-way catalysts are located as near as possible to the engine in order to make the temperature of catalysts rise sooner. But, under engine conditions such as high-speed driving, deterioration of the catalyst accelerates due to the high temperature of exhaust emissions from the engine. Usually, the temperature of emissions are lowered by injecting additional amounts of fuel into the engine's combustion chamber.

Mazda's new three-way catalyst can start to react at a lower temperature and suppress thermal deterioration. This new catalyst is made from unique ratios of precious metals such as palladium, platinum, and rhodium. An increased ratio of palladium has resulted in hastening purification of the pollutants. The new catalyst has high thermal resistance due to the use of a newly developed, thermal stabilized material.

Highlighted features of the new three-way catalyst :

Reduces HC, CO and NOx by half.
The new three-way catalyst starts to purify pollutants from a 70°C lower temperature than current catalysts. It reduces HC, CO and NOx gases by 50 percent during the engine's cold driving cycle.

Increases fuel economy and lowers CO2 by 15 percent
The new three-way catalyst achieves greater heat resistant performance, 100°C higher than current catalysts, and the engine does not need additional amounts of fuel injected into its combustion chamber to eventually lower the catalyst's temperature. As a result, fuel economy is improved and CO2 emissions are lowered by 15 percent, under such a condition as 160 km/h high speed cruising on the Autobahn in Germany.

Increases engine performance
The new three-way catalyst starts to react at a lower temperature, thereby increasing overall conversion capability. Accordingly, the size of the catalyst has been reduced by 40 percent : thus permitting a smoother flow of emissions when going through the catalyst and increasing overall engine performance.

Mazda's new three-way catalyst will enable their vehicles to meet future stringent emission regulations in various countries while enhancing engine performance. Mazda plans to start to apply this new three-way catalyst to their vehicles soon.

Find more news and information at www.mazda.com

Tuesday, March 3, 1998

New 626 Station Wagon

The new 626 Station Wagon, ready for sale in Europe, will further strengthen the entire 626 lineup. Conceived with a philosophy of putting people first, this station wagon uniquely combines sedan like comfort with class-leading station wagon utility and versatility. Flexible seating can accommodate a variety of interior arrangements depending on cargo size and the number of occupants. Passenger safety has been advanced with an array of features such as a highly rigid body design, SRS airbags with a passenger side de-activation system, and the world's first side-airbag in the C-D segment to protect the head and body.

Mazda 626 Station Wagon
new Mazda 626 Station Wagon

For both city and country driving, Mazda presents the MV-X. As a multi-purpose vehicle, the MV-X is fit for people with diversified energetic lifestyles. And for those who appreciate cabin room, Mazda offers the SW-X. A spacious wagon with excellent packaging, the SW-X accommodates up to seven passengers in a C-segment, compact body.

Reaffirming our commitment to develop environmental technology, Mazda shows the Compact Direct Injection Diesel Turbo Engine with a total displacement of 1,998cc. The engine, which drastically reduces combustion noise and NOx emissions, incorporates a compact sized fuel-efficient direct injection and generates high-level engine output.

Mazda's Compact Direct Injection Diesel Turbo Engine will be used for the first time in Europe in the Mazda 626 series after the middle of this year.

(*) The Geneva Motor Show was held in 1905 for the first time. This motor show is held every year. The press day is scheduled on March 3 and 4. The public opening is from March 5 to 15.

Find more news and information at www.mazda.com

New Mazda MX-5

Mazda Motor Corporation today announced that the all-new Mazda MX-5, along with "Demio Concept", a practical yet sporty compact wagon, made its European debut at the 1998 Geneva Motor Show* in Switzerland. The new Mazda 626 Station Wagon, Mazda MV-X and Mazda SW-X, roomy and versatile concept wagons; and a Compact Direct Injection Diesel Turbo Engine, part of Mazda's environmental technology were also displayed.

Mazda MX-5
New Mazda MX-5

Equipped with European specifications, the new MX-5 offers a more powerful and responsive 1.8-litre or 1.6-litre engine with five-speed manual transmission. The new MX-5 will be marketed in 24 different countries in Europe beginning in April. The sales target for 1998 has been set for 13,000 to 14,000 units.

The first MX-5 was introduced in the spring of 1990 in Europe. As of January 1998, more than 67,000 units had been sold in Europe. Many compact sports cars have been introduced over the years in markets around the world; yet, the MX-5 continues to outshine its competitors. Over 430,000 MX-5s are on public roads world-wide today. The MX-5 has been acclaimed time and time again as a fun-to-drive, lightweight, open two-seater that creates a feeling of oneness between the car and driver and provides optimum styling enjoyment.

With the idea of a "sporty compact wagon" in mind, Mazda developed the "Demio Concept" exclusively for the Geneva Motor Show. Uniquely designed modifications make the "Demio Concept" a practical yet sporty compact wagon that will entice customers with "on the go" lifestyles. The exterior features a new front grill and spoiler, and an eye-catching Blue-Meets-Violet Mica (blue purple) paint. The interior color is light beige, and the seats and the door trim purposefully coordinate with the exterior color. A refined suspension system and 16 inches tires and wheels ensure both stable handling and a comfortable ride. Based on the response at the motor show, Mazda will decide whether to launch a new Demio line for the European market.

Find more news and information at www.mazda.com

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