Kabura is not only the first Mazda compact coupe for the 21st century, it's also the first project guided by Mazda North American Operations' (MNAO) Director of Design Franz von Holzhausen, who joined Mazda in February 2005 from GM. The 37-year-old von Holzhausen studied industrial design at Syracuse University (New York State) and graduated from the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Reinvigorating the Affordable Coupe
"With Kabura, we set out to use innovative design to rekindle the passion for driving," notes von Holzhausen. "Our intention is to rouse the segment with some intravenous creativity. While we have no plans at the moment to build a production version of Kabura, it is not a complete flight of fancy. It embodies several innovations Mazda could implement when a compact sports coupe, steeped in Zoom-Zoom, is ready for production."
According to a recent survey performed by a major research organisation, Mazda's new-car customers are the second youngest in North America, with an average age of only 41 years.
Generation-Y buyers are several steps ahead of the latest trends and constantly on the lookout for affordable possessions that satisfy their hunger for stylish, insightful and spirited designs. One of Kabura's roles is exposing a likely future design direction to today's demanding consumers.
Power is supplied to Kabura's rear wheels by a 2.0-liter version of Mazda's highly respected MZR DOHC 16-valve engine. Unusually, Kabura has different size wheels and tyres – 245/35 R19 Bridgestone Potenza at the front and 245/35 R20 at the rear. While this concept has been constructed over several Mazda MX-5 chassis components, basic dimensions fall between Mazda's MX-5 and RX-8 sportscars.
Were the Kabura design study to achieve production status, it would likely be a stand-alone product rather than an extension of any existing model line.
Form and Function Meet the Future
Building on Kabura's innovative styling and interior packaging, von Holzhausen's team decided that introducing a level of sustainability and recyclability was a critical part of the concept. By partnering with Sustainable Solutions, Inc (SSI), a leader in reengineering post-industrial waste materials into quality consumer products, Mazda shows it has an eye toward the future in everything it does.
Kabura's interior is produced from SSI's innovative regenerated leather substrate. Itself produced from 100 per cent post-industrial waste – in this case, much of the waste was material recovered from the manufacturing of Nike brand athletic shoes – SSI's leather-grind is able to be dyed and printed in any colour or design and appears in Kabura as a technical yet inviting material.