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First look: Shinari concept heralds new Mazda look

Sleek: New five-door Shinari sports concept heralds Mazda's new styling direction.

Mazda reveals new ‘Kodo’ design direction in the shape of stunning Shinari concept

31 Aug 2010

HERE is the radical new design language that will shape the appearance of all new models to come from Mazda.

The stunning new styling direction, dubbed ‘Kodo – Soul of Motion’, was revealed this week at a lavish global design forum in Milan by Mazda’s new chief of design, Ikuo Maeda.

Seen for the first time on a striking new four-door sportscar concept named Shinari, Kodo is likely to make its production debut on the next-generation Mazda6 due to emerge in 2012.

The adventurous new design theme, which combines speed, tension and desirability in an attempt to take the upstart Japanese brand further upmarket than ever before, will replace the Nagare design language introduced by former Mazda styling chief Laurens van den Acker, who now heads design at Renault.

Kodo emerges little more than a year after Mr Maeda, a Mazda design veteran who penned the RX-8 and current Mazda2, took the design reigns at Mazda in April 2009.

22 center imageIt spells the end for – and builds on the themes introduced by - Nagare, despite the fact Mazda’s previous design language was seen on seven concept vehicles but just one production car – the Mazda5. The new people-mover will make its world debut at the Paris motor show on September, but will not be sold in Australia.

Surprisingly, although the Shinari sports coupe, which is actually a hatchback, will be rolled out at future motor shows, it will not be seen at this year’s Paris extravaganza, which will have an environmental focus and will also be used by Mazda to debut upgraded Mazda2 and Mazda3 models.

“I have a strong will to take Mazda to the next level,” said Mr Maeda, the son of former Mazda chief designer and the man behind the original RX-7 of 1978, Matasaburo Maeda, in Milan.

“I am a proper designer. I have been at Mazda for almost 30 years. It is good timing for me.

“We have to embody function and style at the same time. We aim to put a premium value onto our products. Mazda design has always explored a variety of athletic forms. I aim to create form with soul … to translate the soul of motion into car design.” The imposing C/D-segment sized Shinari’s exterior, which measures almost 1.9 metres wide, was created by talented 36-year-old Korean Yong Wook Cho, a former Hyundai-Kia designer who also penned the original Mazda2 and facelifted RX-8, at Mazda’s main production design studio in Hiroshima, Japan.

“I hope the people that meet this car have a feeling of great vitality,” he said, adding that Mr Maeda’s only design criterion was that the car must have four doors. “Shinari is a car which has hot blood under its cool skin.” The Shinari was chosen by Mr Maeda to best represent Mazda’s future styling direction from a range of proposals created at all four of the car-maker’s global design studios, also including Irvine in California, Frankfurt in Germany and Yokohama in Japan.

A low-slung cab-rearward concept with four individual seats, a super-narrow glasshouse and huge 21-inch wheels, the front-wheel drive Shinari is believed to be powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine that does in fact make it driveable.

However, evocative images of it carving up Japanese traffic in a promotional video were actually computer-generated.

Stand-out Shinari design elements – including side air-vent inner fins that resemble a stainless steel paper knife, complex front wheel-arch creases and a ‘signature wing’ that underlines the prominent five-point grille and extends around the entire front-end to the front doors - will be applied to all new models from Mazda.

While that won’t include next year’s facelifted Mazda3, which will be the first model to be powered by Mazda’s revolutionary new 2.0-litre Sky G petrol engine, the new look should appear within three years on the next-generation Mazda6, which will debut the brand’s equally ground-breaking 2.2-litre twin-turbo Sky D diesel engine.

GoAuto understands the life of the current Mazda2 may be extended because its release was delayed in Mazda’s largest market, North America. The Two was scheduled to be the next all-new passenger car from Mazda, but should now follow the next Mazda6 on sale.

The all-new third-generation Mazda3 – based on a shorter version of the next Mazda6’s lightweight new platform – will debut in 2014.

An all-new sub-compact model to be dubbed CX-5, plus replacements for the current CX-7 and CX-9 SUVs - and, possibly, the RX-8 sportscar – should also wear the new Kodo design by 2015.

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