TOKYO - Mazda Motor Corp. is considering bringing the seven-seat version of its new Premacy compact minivan to Europe.
Mazda currently plans to export only the five-seat version to Europe from this summer. That decision was based on early focus group reactions. But Mazda President James Miller said that he still believes there is a market in Europe for the seven-seat version, and comments he has received from dealers in Europe support that view.
Based on the same platform as the 323, the Premacy is Mazda's first entry into what the company calls the 'spacewagon' segment. It will compete against the Renault Megane Scenic, Nissan Tino, GM Zafira and Mitsubishi Space Star.
Mazda is aiming for monthly sales of 3,000 in Japan and about 2,350 in Europe. Another 150-200 are expected to be sold in the Asia Pacific region. Mazda President James Miller 'reminds me every week' that those targets are conservative, said Mark Fields, a Mazda senior advisor.
Japanese prices for the five-passenger version start at about $14,050, at current exchange rates.
The Premacy, Mazda's first all-new model in Japan since the Demio nearly three years ago, offers flexible seating arrangements. The final row in the seven-seat version weighs 18kg and can be lifted out easily. With the third row removed and the second row double-folded, the Premacy can carry two mountain bikes.
The Premacy measures 4,295mm long by 1,695mm wide by 1,570mm tall, and rides on a 2,670mm
wheelbase. It weighs 1,260kg. It is powered by a 1.8-liter in-line
four-cylinder engine putting out 135hp, teamed with an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. A slightly longer four-wheel-drive version is also available.
Behind the pop-out cupholders in the front is a storage compartment that can hold up to seven compact discs. The driver-side power window can still be operated up to 30 seconds after the key is removed from the ignition. Side airbags for the front passengers are optional.
Among other features, it comes with an air filter that absorbs unpleasant odors and uses a chemical reaction to clean the air. Mazda claims the new filter is about 100 times more effective than an activated-charcoal filter.
The Premacy marks Mazda's fastest vehicle-development ever. It went from concept to Job 1 in 23 months.