HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation has announced that total production of the Mazda Axela (known as Mazda3 in overseas markets) in Japan reached the one million unit milestone at the end of August 2006. This achievement comes three years and two months after production of the Axela started at Mazda's Hofu Plant No.1 (H1) at the end of June 2003 and establishes a new record for the fastest time to produce one million units of a Mazda vehicle.
The Mazda Axela development concept was focused on producing a "dynamic sports compact that exceeds your expectations" and has become a core model in Mazda's global compact vehicle segment strategy. It delivers outstanding dynamic performance, a vibrant design and high quality craftsmanship, having been developed to be a globally competitive vehicle with attractive driving characteristics and value-for-money attributes.
The Axela won second prize in the 2004 European Car of the Year awards—the highest-ranking Japanese car that year—and was picked as the 2004 Canadian Car of the Year. It has also been praised by the media and customers alike, winning 67 automotive awards to date. With this history of excellence, it continues to enjoy steady sales in markets throughout the world.
Mazda freshened the Axela lineup in June 2006. While the freshened Axela enhanced existing strengths such as delightful exterior and interior styling, dynamic performance and craftsmanship, fuel economy and road quietness were improved and a new all-wheel drive (AWD) grade was added. At the same time, the Mazdaspeed Axela (known globally as the Mazda3 MPS or Mazdaspeed3), a high performance model with a 2.3-liter Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) Turbo engine, was newly added to the lineup in Japan, offering another dimension of driving pleasure.
As of the end of August 2006, Mazda has received 838 orders for the Mazdaspeed Axela in the three-month period since it began taking orders. Sales are off to a positive start and the monthly sales target for this model in the Japanese market is 200 units.
With ongoing steady global sales, Mazda has been adding to the Axela's production system year after year. Total production of the Axela in Japan in 2005 was 364,668 units, boasting one of the highest single model production volumes in Japan. For the future, as Mazda's key model in the compact vehicle segment, the Axela is aimed at strengthening the Mazda brand globally and will take on an increasingly important role as a key model in Mazda's vehicle lineup.
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