• Kyodo News


Mazda Motor Corp. on Thursday rolled out its all-new Axela compact in Japan, showing off its higher fuel efficiency and new idle-stop technology.

Mazda President Takashi Yamanouchi said Mazda is aiming for annual sales of over 300,000 units globally and 24,000 units in Japan for the second-generation model, which entered Europe, North America and Australia earlier this year as the Mazda3.

The Axela, fully remodeled for the first time since 2003, comes as a four-door sedan or a sporty five-door hatchback with prices ranging from ¥1.66 million to ¥2.68 million. The models will also be available with three engine displacements — 1.5, 2.0 and 2.3 liters.

The 2.0-liter, front-wheel-drive models will have Mazda’s new “i-stop” mechanism, which automatically stops the engine whenever the car stops and restarts it in just 0.35 seconds, while reducing engine noise and vibration at the same time.

The Axela is the Hiroshima Prefecture-based automaker’s principal model and has chalked up global sales of more than 2 million units in the five years since it debuted.

Separately, Yamanouchi said the capital tieup with Ford Motor Co. would continue but suggested Mazda may study partnerships with other automakers in developing green technology for low-emission cars. Mazda is working with Ford on developing hybrid cars.

“I think we will need various technologies,” Yamanouchi told reporters in Tokyo.

“Each automaker has very good technology, while we also have our own technology. So I think various things could happen when discussions develop into agreements,” he said.

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