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PRNewswire: Mazda Furai Concept and 2009 RX-8 to Make World Debut at 2008 North American International Auto Show

HIROSHIMA, Japan, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Mazda Motor Corporation will showcase the world premieres of the Mazda Furai concept vehicle and the heavily revised 2009 Mazda RX-8 sports car at the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), to be held in Detroit from Sunday, January 13 through Sunday, January 27, 2008. On the heels of its show-stopping debut at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show in October, the Mazda Taiki concept vehicle also will make its North American debut, the first time it has been shown outside Japan.

Mazda Furai -- 'Sound of the wind'. Inspired by the fact that, on any given weekend, there are more Mazdas and Mazda-powered cars road-raced in the United States than any other brand, the Mazda Furai (Japanese for "sound of the wind" and pronounced "fu-rye") is the sort of car that could only come from a company that incorporates the "Soul of a Sports Car" into everything it builds, but with an eye toward the future and the environment through the use of 100% ethanol produced in partnership with British Petroleum (BP).

Furai takes Mazda's unique Nagare (Japanese for "flow") design language a step further as it is translated into a concept car based on an American Le Mans Series (ALMS) racing car. The car utilizes the Courage C65 chassis the company campaigned in the ALMS series only two seasons ago, and the 450-hp three-rotor rotary engine that distinguishes it from anything else on the track.

Says Franz von Holzhausen, Mazda's North American director of design, "Furai purposely blurs boundaries that have traditionally distinguished street cars from track cars. Historically, there has been a gap between single-purpose racecars and street-legal models -- commonly called supercars -- that emulate the real racers on the road. Furai bridges that gap like no car has ever done before."

Mazda's critically acclaimed Nagare design language describes the flow of water, air, people or things moving in one direction. Mazda Nagare is flow, with an insightful and spirited styling, which, in Mazda Furai, invokes a raw, unfettered desire to possess everything this car represents.

2009 Mazda RX-8. Sporting a freshened design, improved handing, acceleration, quality and features, the 2009 Mazda RX-8 continues to be a "Sports Car like no other," and shows that the rotary engine is still an important part of Mazda's future.

Since its launch in 2003, the Mazda RX-8 has been hailed as a genuine sports car, but with a totally new, four-door, four-seat format that delivers sports car values, passenger comfort and driving pleasure. Powered by the world's only mass-produced rotary engine, RX-8 is the spiritual successor to the 1967 Cosmo 110S, the world's first twin-rotor production car. With almost two-million rotary engines sold, and the company's legendary win at the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans -- the only Japanese brand to ever win the endurance racing classic -- the rotary engine is the sole preserve of Mazda.

Mazda Taiki. Making its North American debut, the first time it has been shown outside of Japan where it was hailed as the "Concept of the Show" by a major enthusiast publication at this year's Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda is eager to show the Mazda Taiki alongside the all-new Mazda Furai.

While Taiki is significant as the fourth of the Nagare-inspired concepts in the series, it is also the third rotary-powered car that will be debuted on the Mazda stand. Mazda is committed to the current and future development and production of the rotary engine, as well as pursuing multiple fuel strategies under its Sustainable Zoom-Zoom plan.

The challenge to create "a design that visually expresses the flow of air" was inspired by the image of a pair of Hagoromo -- the flowing robes that enable a celestial maiden to fly in Japanese legend -- floating down from the sky.

Inspired by Japanese koinobori -- the decorative "climbing carp streamers" -- the notion of creating an Air-tube became the concept word for the interior design. In accordance, from the dashboard and seats down to the door trim, the interior space creates the dynamic sensation that the flow of the wind is being visually depicted.

Additionally, Mazda will have a special display of racecars on its stand during the press days, and the full lineup of production cars for consumers to sample for public days.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

For more information on Mazda products, visit the online Mazda media center at http://www.mazdausamedia.com/

Source: PRNewswire

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