While most cars and trucks have been getting progressively heavier over the last three decades, Mazda is making a concerted effort to turn that around. In designing the new Mazda2 they focused on weight as one of the ways to improve fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. They managed to reduce the weight by over 200lbs compared to the previous generation car.

They've used high-strength steels to optimize the design of the whole body to reduce the weight while improve the rigidity and crash resistance. They also made the exterior dimensions smaller and adjusted features on the new car. Some of the detailed design features included changing speaker magnets to neodymium and making the wiring harness shorter. There's more after the jump.

[Source: Mazda]

New Mazda2's Lightweight Strategy

Leverkusen, 19th July 2007. The all-new Mazda2 is the product of a lightweight mindset at Mazda's R & D community to reduce vehicle weight of new Mazda products as a way to lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while delivering the agile handling and safety attributes customers expect of Mazda. The new Mazda2 is a milestone in this respect: almost 100 kg lighter than the previous Mazda2, it reverses the trend towards ever-heavier vehicles while being safer and even more fun to drive. 60 percent of this weight savings came in engineering solutions, including the body shell, which has an optimised structure and uses high and ultra-high tensile steels for less weight, greater rigidity and better crash resistance. Another 20 percent were saved by features adjustments and 20 percent saved making the car's exterior dimensions smaller. Mazda2 engineers reduced weight by:

* using of high and ultra-high tensile steels for lighter (and stronger) body and joint reinforcements
* shortening the trailing arm of the rear suspension and giving it an open-section design
* making the bonnet striker assembly smaller, the hinges thinner
* eliminating the underfoot catalyst (1.3-litre model)
* moving the fresh-air inlet to the top of the radiator shroud (doing away with the need of a resonator and baffle)
* making the wiring harness shorter
* changing the door-mounted speaker magnets to neodymium types and making the plastic moulding single-piece.
* decreasing the length of the vehicle by 40 mm and height by 55 mm

These weight-saving measures make the new Mazda2 a trendsetter for fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions. It delivers some of the B-segment's lowest fuel consumption (the standard power 1.3-litre petrol uses just 5.4 litres per 100 km combined) while producing just 129 g/km of CO2.


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