Mazda celebrated the production kickoff of its new CX-9 crossover by holding a "line-off" ceremony at the Ujima plant in Japan, where this new product for the North American market is being manufactured. We weren't sure what a "line-off" celebration entailed, but it apparently involves a red carpet, signage bordered with gold Christmas garland, one "Zoom-Zoom" reference (see press release), and executives holding giant housekeys.

The CX-9 is Mazda's new seven-passenger CUV. It was unveiled at the NY Auto Show this past April and will hit showrooms in early 2007.

(Photos, press release after the jump)

[Source: Mazda]

Mazda CX-9 Production Line:

Mazda Starts Production of the CX-9, its Second Crossover SUV for the North American Market

- Line-off ceremony held at Hiroshima's Ujina Plant No.1 -

HIROSHIMA, Japan--Mazda Motor Corporation today held a 'line-off' ceremony for the CX-9 crossover sport-utility vehicle (SUV) being built for the North American market at the Ujina Plant No.1 near its global headquarters in Hiroshima. Hisakazu Imaki, Mazda's representative director, chairman of the board, president and CEO, along with approximately 450 staff-comprised of several senior executives, union representatives and employees-attended this ceremony. The Mazda CX-9 will be arriving in North American showrooms in early 2007.

"The CX-9 will be the latest addition to Mazda's product lineup in the all-important North American market, joining the Mazda CX-7, which went on sale there in May", said Hisakazu Imaki. "CX-9 is a key model aimed at raising the visibility of Mazda in North America and will be an integral part of building the brand. Furthermore, to keep on providing the best Zoom-Zoom products that will exceed our customers' expectations around the globe, we must continue our efforts as 'One Mazda' to build even higher-quality vehicles."

The Mazda CX-9 is a seven-seat crossover SUV designed and engineered specifically for the North American market. The CX-9 showcases Mazda's unique design and strong, dynamic driving performance as well as an up-market interior with class-leading space and unmatched versatility. The CX-9 debuted at the New York International Auto Show in April 2006, earning high marks for its versatility and remarkable styling that makes a clean break from traditional medium-sized SUVs.

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