Approximately 550 people, including Mazda's Executive Vice President, Robert J. Graziano, together with other Mazda executive officers, union representatives and employees, gathered to celebrate the start of new Mazda2 production. The first car to come off the line is bound for the Japanese market, with sales due to commence in summer 2007.
Mr Graziano greeted the attendees, saying, "The all-new Mazda2 is the first of Mazda's new generation products to evolve to the next stage. While the current model was intended for the domestic market, the new model has been developed into a globally competitive car. I wish to congratulate you all on your hard work, which has now successfully brought us to the start of full mass production.
"I am convinced that the all-new Mazda2 will capture the hearts of our customers and demonstrate to drivers the world over that, 'Mazda vehicles look inviting to drive, are fun to drive, and make you want to drive them again.'
"The new Mazda2 offers an exhilarating driving experience that is the soul of Zoom-Zoom and we will continue to build cars with the strong understanding that safety and environmental friendliness are a vital part of making cars fun-to-drive."
By focusing on weight reduction during its development, the all-new Mazda2 is 100 kilograms lighter than its predecessor, placing it among the most fuel efficient vehicles in its class. It also has substantially improved safety performance.
Based on Mazda's excellent driving dynamics, the all-new Mazda2 meets today's demanding regulatory requirements and customer needs for excellent styling, manoeuvrability and economy. The all-new Mazda2 European model was greeted with great acclaim at its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2007 and again at its Asian debut during the Shanghai Motor Show in April.
Along with continuing production of the all-new Mazda2 at the U1 plant, additional Mazda2 production will begin at the Ujina Plant No.2 (U2) in June 2007. Sales will commence in Japan, followed by Europe and Australia and other markets. Production of Mazda2s for the Chinese market is scheduled to start at the Changan Ford Mazda Nanjing plant by the end of 2007.