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Sydney show: Mazda bullish over Tribute

New trio: Mazda's compact 4WD the Tribute (top), the Premacy compact people-mover (left) and the sporty SP20 Astina.

Mazda pins its hopes on compact 4WD the Tribute to significantly boost sales next year

Mazda logo16 Nov 2000

By BRUCE NEWTON

MAZDA is bullishly predicting 7500 extra sales in 2001, primarily on the back of its entrant in the booming compact four-wheel drive market, the Tribute.

It will be launched in Australia in February as both a 90kW, 2.0-litre four-cylinder mated only with a five-speed manual gearbox, or a 150kW, 3.0-litre V6 combined with a four-speed automatic.

Pricing will start at $29,990 for the 2.0, placing it lineball with the top-selling Honda CR-V. A range of V6 models will start at $39,990, with the top of the range model including leather trim and side airbags.

All V6 models will offer anti-lock brakes while power windows/mirrors and air-conditioning are standard across the range.

Mazda also unveiled the Premacy compact people-mover in Sydney - although it preferred the term "space hatch" for the five-seater - and a "sporty" version of the 323 Astina named SP20.

Mazda Australia managing director Malcolm Gough said the introduction of the new models was expected to increase local Mazda sales to 35,000 in 2001.

"We expect to be selling a little over 500 Tributes per month and the balance of the extra volume will mainly be achieved by Premacy," he said.

"Given those figures, we expect to lift our market share from around 3.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent." Mazda believes the V6 will account for the greater share of Tribute volume, the 2.0-litre will attract between 15 and 20 per cent of Tribute buyers, particularly those who are seriously concerned about rising fuel prices.

The tall five-seater Premacy will retail for $27,890.

Based on 323 mechanicals, it is powered by a 1.8-litre, four-cylinder engine, has rear seats which can be individually folded, flipped or removed and comes standard with anti-lock brakes and dual airbags.

Priced from $28,056, the SP20 is powered by a 98kW, 2.0-litre engine which is mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed auto gearbox.

Styling touches include a "rally-style" front-end with large driving lights, 16-inch alloy wheels and a body kit.

Inside there are an off-black colour scheme, white instruments, amber illumination of controls, black leather-wrapped three-spoke Nardi steering wheel, leather-wrapped gearknob, sporty fabric and silver-colored centre and console panel trim.

The SP20 also has the new Mazda "family" five-point grille with floating centre emblem, which also feature on the standard 1.6 and 1.8 Protégé and Astina models.

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