When one of their interns farts crosswise, most automakers feel compelled to issue a press release about it, so the deluge of material we go though each day normally comes up with squat. Mazda, on the other hand, decided to give us the skinny on the future of the Zoom-Zoomin' automaker when it put out two press releases outlining its short-term goals -- from both a market and environmental perspective.

On the global climate change tip, Mazda has decided to work jointly with Ford to develop sustainable technologies, including the HEV system for its Hydrogen RE Hybrid. However, since widespread adoption of hydrogen is still several years out, Mazda has independently developed the Smart Idling Stop System (SISS) that will find a home within their vehicles in Japan by 2009. That system, along with a focus on building more efficient vehicles that consume less and weight less, will be the key pursuits of the automaker. Other goals include offering an E85 flex-fuel engine in Europe by 2009, upgrading normal gas engines to increase performance and fuel economy by 2010, and bringing a highly efficient rotary engine to market in 2010. The entire press released, entitled (and we kid you not) the "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom" plan, is posted after the jump.

The last bit about the rotary is good news for enthusiasts that thought the quirky Wankel might be euthanized in the future, and we'd suspect that part of Mazda's plan for increasing both performance and fuel efficiency on the rotary might include something of the forced-induction variety.

In addition to the new E85-compatible engines, our brothers abroad will also stand to benefit from enhanced diesel engines, along with a new autobox. And while revamped methods of propulsion are all well and good, Mazda put considerable focus on making their vehicles lighter, saying that the recently launched Mazda2 weighs 100 kg less than its predecessor.

You can check out both press releases after the jump.

PRESS RELEASE(S)

Mazda Announces New 'Mazda Advancement Plan' Mid-Term Plan

HIROSHIMA, Japan--Based on its long-term strategy and looking ten years ahead, Mazda Motor Corporation has announced its new, four-year mid-term plan, the Mazda Advancement Plan (MAP), for fiscal years 2007 through 2010. Manufacturing innovation and accelerated structural reforms will be key focus points during this period. Other key areas include continuing to improve Mazda's brand value and increasing business efficiencies together with maintaining a consistent and steady growth rate to position Mazda for a successful future.

Mazda President and CEO, Hisakazu Imaki, said, "Under the Mazda Momentum plan, Mazda succeeded in its efforts to build a solid foundation for consistent and steady future growth. We understand the challenges ahead and are addressing them. The next steps that Mazda needs to take for the future are clear: deepen our synergies with Ford, improve Mazda's brand value and seek increased business efficiencies. Our new mid-term plan, "Mazda Advancement Plan", has three numerical targets to be achieved by 2010: 1.6 million global retail sales, an operating profit over 200 billion yen, and a return on sales (ROS) ratio of six percent, in addition to a stable payout of dividends."

Synergies with the Ford Motor Company, attained through deep cooperation in a number of areas and long considered a 'win-win' partnership, will continue to be a top priority for Mazda. In addition, better brand value is to be achieved through desirable new products along with quality and customer retention improvements to further evolve Mazda's enduring Zoom-Zoom brand ethos. Mazda will also continue to initiate structural reforms for improved business efficiencies, with particular emphasis on key models, enhanced product competitiveness through integrated development, manufacturing and purchasing activities, as well as manufacturing innovation and cost optimization that will lead the company into another era of future growth.

Overview of the New Mid-term Plan
1. FY2010 Targets
- Global retail volume of over 1.6 million units
- Operating profit of over 200 billion yen
- Operating ROS of 6 percent
- Stable payout of dividends

2. Action items
(1) Brand-related
1. North America
- Strengthen the product lineup by introducing products that reflect the voice of the customer. Improve customer satisfaction at all touchpoints.
- Accelerate development of next-generation dealerships that are consistent with Mazda's brand strategy. Improve sales productivity at exclusive dealers.
- Strengthen marketing initiatives to deepen relationships with Mazda's younger customer base.
- Work toward gaining 100 percent control of distributors in the United States and Canada.
2. Japan
- Strengthen product offerings in the registered vehicle segment.
- Move forward with establishing dealers in the Tokyo metropolitan region in areas without dealer representation at present. Grow profitability at dealers.
- Shift to next-generation dealer outlets in alignment with Mazda's brand strategy.
- Achieve outstanding satisfaction levels for customers throughout the vehicle ownership experience.
3. Europe
- Deliver advanced powertrains which will improve customer satisfaction.
- Sustain profitability in key mature markets by improving sales productivity and forging ahead with dealer openings in major urban areas.
- Enter selected emerging markets.
4. China
- Achieve a smooth launch of operations at the Nanjing plant.
- Develop the China dealer network to support sales of 300,000 units per year.
- Execute efficient product launches.
5. ASEAN and Australia
- Strengthen the ASEAN market(s) model lineup and launch the CX-7 and CX-9 models in Australia.
- Reinforce sales in growth markets by focusing on urban areas.
- Strengthen the ASEAN Regional Sales Company. Improve customer satisfaction levels in Australia.

(2) Products and Technology
1. Over the course of the next four years, increase R&D investment by 30 percent as well as raise capital investment expenditures by 50 percent compared to the last four years.
2. Enhance Mazda's business structure through an evolution of current key model lineups and by promoting a new business model.
3. With evolved Zoom-Zoom attributes, accelerate the development of next-generation technology for further business growth after 2011.

(3) Production System
1. Increase production capacity in Japan
- Expand production capacity in Japan to 996,000 units in FY2007 through increasing production at the Hiroshima plant by 31,000 units and by 67,000 units at the Hofu plant.
- Concurrently raise engine production capacity.
2. Overseas production facilities
- Smoothly launch the Nanjing plant in China that will introduce an evolved Mazda Manufacturing System.
- Improve quality and cost competitiveness at production facilities in Thailand and the U.S.
3. Future production capacity expansion policy
- Promote manufacturing innovation to enable volume and model mix flexible production which is competitive in quality and cost.
- Build sales in all markets and develop overseas production capacity by taking into account the balance in each market of sales demand and resource availability.
- Maintain domestic production capacity levels and transfer the technical excellence developed in Japan to other regions.

(4) Human Resources Development
1. Promote the training of people who can drive globally-oriented, 'One Mazda'-style growth.
2. Develop people who energize each workplace.
3. Foster a dynamic work environment where employees can thrive.


Mazda Sets Long-Term Vision for Technology Development: 'Sustainable Zoom-Zoom'

- Mazda's technology development plan aims to harmonize driving pleasure with environmental and safety features -

HIROSHIMA, Japan--Recognizing the challenges of CO2 mitigation will require a concerted and coordinated effort between governments, the auto industry, the energy industry, suppliers and consumers. Mazda Motor Corporation has announced its long-term vision for technology development, "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom", as part of its brand value improvement initiatives. The plan also articulates Mazda's role in the automotive industry's response to global climate and transportation issues, outlining Mazda's efforts toward realizing a sustainable environment for the future.

Amongst other aims, Mazda's primary focus will include harnessing synergies with Ford and improving the HEV system of the Hydrogen RE Hybrid. Introduction of Mazda's independently developed Smart Idling Stop System (SISS) is also planned for Japan.

In announcing the long-term technology development plan's vision, Seita Kanai, Mazda's director and senior executive officer in charge of R&D, said: "Mazda is committed to working towards a sustainable future that brings continued happiness and excitement to people in a global society, by developing vehicles that never fail to excite, visually capture the customer's heart and provide a fun driving experience that keeps bringing them back to Mazda."

Under the Sustainable Zoom-Zoom plan, Mazda will pursue the harmony felt between driving pleasure and environmental and safety features, and the quest for an advanced Zoom-Zoom world.

Mazda's long-term vision will be supported by this new technology development plan. Elements of the technology plan include a drive to create captivating design, a renewed desire for continual driving pleasure and an ongoing mission to achieve improved safety and environmental features, all part of Mazda's goal of improving its brand value in the eyes of consumers.

Global environmental benefits will be sought by building highly efficient, clean powertrains and striving to reduce vehicle weight. Working toward a better transportation environment, Mazda is moving forward with Human Machine Interface (HMI) technologies. HMI supports accurate recognition and assessment of hazards, more compact design attributes, and improved vehicle dynamics to minimize the risk of collisions. Through the continuous development of a wide range of technologies, Mazda seeks a balance between driving pleasure and environmental safety features as part of its dedication to attain the goals set out in the Sustainable Zoom-Zoom plan.

Mazda's key technical development initiatives are as follows:

1. Powertrains
- As part of Mazda's drive toward achieving a sustainable global environment for the future, Mazda will develop powertrains which unite advanced environmental performance with thrilling driving characteristics and which make cars so fun to drive people will keep coming back for more.
- For the future embodiment of Zoom-Zoom, Mazda will research hydrogen fuel technologies, with particular emphasis on internal combustion engine applications, as part of the goal of realizing a hydrogen society in the future. During this development period, other practical technologies will also be introduced in line with the advancing social infrastructure.

(1) Gasoline engines
- Introduce Mazda's independently developed Smart Idling Stop System (SISS) in the Japanese market in 2009.
- Introduce an E85 fuel-compatible flex-fuel engine to the Northern European market in 2009.
- Upgrade Mazda's gasoline engines toward the start of the decade beginning in 2010; increase performance and significantly improve fuel efficiency.

(2) Diesel engines
- Further evolve our clean diesel engine that has become popular in Europe, and introduce a new diesel engine that meets Japanese and North American long-term emissions regulations toward the start of the decade beginning in 2010.

(3) Automatic transmissions
- Introduce a new automatic transmission with improved fuel efficiency and performance comparable to that of a manual transmission toward the start of the decade beginning in 2010.

(4) Rotary engines
- Introduce a new generation gasoline rotary engine with enhanced power and fuel efficiency toward the start of the decade beginning in 2010.

(5) Future technologies
- Begin commercial leasing of the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid in 2008. Increase its power by 40 percent and achieve a 200 km range.
- Launch a vehicle with HEV system based on the Hydrogen RE Hybrid toward the start of the decade beginning in 2010.
- Develop an all-new Hydrogen RE with dynamic performance equivalent to a 3.0-liter gasoline engine and a range of 400 km.

2. Design
- Design cars that people will want to drive at first sight; that people will recognize as Mazda at first sight; and that connect with the tastes of families.
- Offer new and exciting Mazda design cues
- Present new proportions that are aligned with platform development

3. Vehicle Technologies
- Seek to create vehicles that are fun to drive as well as safe, and invent technologies that allow the designers the freedom to create captivating styling which attracts the eyes of potential buyers.
- Seeking a sustainable future transportation environment, offer vehicles that have a comfortable ride together with excellent safety features such as collision avoidance systems.
- Reduce vehicle weight to improve handling and cut CO2 emissions.

(1) Platforms
- From 2010, steadily develop safe, lightweight new generation platforms with eye-catching design and excellent dynamics.
- Achieve a weight reduction of approximately 100 kg for the new Mazda2/Demio due for launch in 2007, as compared to the current model.

(2) Safety technologies
- Introduce safety technologies with Mazda's Zoom-Zoom DNA to make cars easier to operate, such as a Human Machine Interface (HMI) system that supports accurate recognition and assessment of hazards and user-friendly collision avoidance dynamics.
- From next year, start an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) verification experiment in the Hiroshima area to examine safety in collaboration with the government and the local community.

(3) Material technologies and production technologies
- Expand the applications of carbon neutral bioplastics that were developed in collaboration with government, industry and academia. Utilize bioplastics in the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid that is scheduled to begin commercial leasing in 2008.
- From 2008, make our paint shops the cleanest of any plant by evolving our Three Layer Wet Paint System with our unique water-based painting technology.

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