Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) announced this week that the vehicle shown as the MX-Crossport at January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich., will formally move from concept to production vehicle. The production Mazda CX-7 will pick up many of the design cues of the concept vehicle, and will be built solely in Hiroshima, Japan. More information about the vehicle will be available as the year progresses. It will launch in 2006. "In order to succeed, we have to be true to our core values and for any vehicle to wear the Winged-M logo on the grille, it must have the soul of a sportscar," Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, MNAO, said in a statement. According to an Automotive News report from the Detroit show, the Crossport concept extends the design direction begun with the Mazda3, Mazda6 and RX-8. "Existing crossovers combine a passenger car and SUV," said Iwao Koizumi, chief designer of the vehicle, in the report. "Ours is aiming more to combine a sports car and a SUV." According to Edmunds.com, the MX-Crossport concept combined sports car highlights, such as four bucket seats, with a cargo hold featuring a power-retractable tonneau cover. The instrument panel was patterned after the one in the Mazda RX-8. The concept's gearshift lever had both manual and automatic modes. The Crossport concept's exterior was characterized by a long wheelbase, large tires and a retractable tow hitch. In Mazda’s new global naming strategy, crossover-type sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) will carry the CX designation (CX-7). Core vehicles will continue to carry the name MAZDA and a number, based on vehicle size (MAZDA2, MAZDA3, MAZDA5, MAZDA6). Rotary-engined sports cars carry the RX designation (RX-8) and piston-engined sports cars carry the MX designation (MX-5, as will be seen on the all-new Mazda MX-5 Miata in the United States). Tribute, MPV and B-Series Truck will continue with their current nomenclature.
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