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Mazda refutes C-sector claim

Mazda Motors Europe has denied an Automotive Management article that claimed it had ditched plans to launch a successor to the 323 after pulling out of a joint platform venture with Ford and Volvo.

The carmaker said that while it was no longer pursuing the joint platform strategy, it would be developing a C-sector replacement for the 323, which was due mid-2003.

Stephen Odell, Mazda Motor Europe president, said: “Mazda is fully committed to growing its sales volume and market share across Europe during the next few years. This will be achieved by the introduction of significant new models in all key sectors of the market, as well as models in specialist sectors.

“The report that Mazda plans to leave the C-sector, which is the largest car-buying segment, is totally wrong. We have a significant presence at the moment with the 323 and we will build upon this with new models in the future.”

Mazda is undertaking a complete revision of its model range and plans to launch the Mazda 6 into the C/D sector in early summer. It is also at an advanced stage in developing an all-new B-sector model, due for production at the Valencia plant in Spain next year.

The rotary powered RX-8 sports coupe is due in spring next year and the next step in the product development will be the all-new range of C-sector models.

“Mazda's product renewal cycle is on schedule and we are totally confident that the exciting new models will make a significant impact in all of the key market sectors,” said Mr Odell.

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