2009 Mazda Tribute - Click above for high-res image gallery

According to a report from Reuters, Mazda plans to raise up to $1.1 billion (95.9 billion yen) by issuing 315.2 million new shares and selling 96.8 million treasury shares. The resulting funds are to be reinvested in the company, mainly for research and development into hybrids and other eco-friendly technologies.

So far, Mazda's only hybrid has been a version of its Tribute crossover utility vehicle, which was in reality little more than a badge-engineered version of the Ford Escape Hybrid. Last year, Ford reduced its stake in Mazda to 13.8 percent, meaning that the Japanese automaker will longer be able to rely on the Blue Oval for gas-electric expertise, so it needed to make its own independent investment into new technologies.

Back in April, Mazda announced plans to boost the fuel efficiency of its fleet of cars and trucks by 30%, and that laudable effort will begin in 2011 with a new fuel efficient version of its bread-and-butter 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Well, now we know how all this newfangled Sustainable Zoom Zoom stuff will be paid for.

[Source: Reuters]

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