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Mazda's new design strategy revealed in autumn 2010

Tue, 22 Jun 2010

By Tim Pollard

Motor Industry

22 June 2010 21:56

Mazda will show off its first 'post-Nagare' concept car in autumn 2010 – providing a glimpse into the future design strategy under the new styling boss.

Nagare has been the design mantra at Mazda since the series of concepts kicked off in 2006 with the eponymous show car, each influenced by flowing waves and patterns from nature. But since the departure of design chief Laurens van den Acker, who defected to Renault, the Japanese company is looking for a fresh direction, CAR understands.

So when will we see the new Mazda design concept?

At a Mazda 'Design Forum' to be held in Italy in September 2010. We're not clear yet what sort of vehicle the concept car will be, but it could be a concept of a production car after a run of wacky, far-out-there show stoppers. Its public debut will be at the Paris motor show the following month.

CAR understands that the new concept car, designed under the tutelage of new design chief Ikuo Maeda (pictured with an earlier show car), will set the template for future production Mazdas. The emphasis will be on lighter, elegant cars – with high quality espoused through the design inside and out.

The old-school Nagare vision will influence the new Mazda 5 people carrier arriving in showrooms in autumn 2010, but we expect future production Mazdas to water down the strange flowing lines that distinguish the flanks of this mid-sized MPV. Senior executives admit that Nagare worked well on dramatic show cars but less well on fussy bread-and-butter road cars.

Ikuo Maeda: a brief history

Maeda, a Mazda lifer, succeeded van den Acker in April 2009. He has Mazda in his blood; his father styled the original RX-7 back in the 1970s.

Maeda's CV includes a brief stint at then-major shareholder Ford, but the majority of his career has been played out at Mazda, where he was responsible for the 2 and the RX-8 sports car.

Should be interesting to see how he stamps his mark on the next generation of Mazda family cars and sports cars.

By Tim Pollard