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Mike Stevens | Oct 9, 2008

After a barrel-full of various concepts and renderings of questionable origin, we've finally got our hands on images of the new Mazda 3, as provided by Mazda at the 2008 Australian International Motor Show.

While the official physical unveiling of the sedan version will take place at the Los Angeles Motor Show on November 19, and the hatch unveiled in Europe, Sydney was chosen as the location to unveil the first official photos of the car. An unusual way of going about things, to be sure, but seeing the genuine design is certainly not unwelcome.

When quizzed about Mazda's unique approach to the unveiling of the new 3, Mazda's Executive Vice President Philip Spender was only too happy to explain.

"We chose Sydney to give the world its first look at the new Mazda3's striking design. Following that, North America will host the world debut of the Mazda3 sedan in late November. Shortly after that the new-generation Mazda3 five-door hatchback will debut on the European continent.

"I think it's only fitting that a car that accounts for one-third of Mazda's global sales should have a truly global reveal. "

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Following the design language established by its larger sibling the Mazda 6, the new Mazda 3 is simply a stunning car from every angle. A Peugeot-like grille and front - though frankly better executed on the 3 than Peugeot have managed - with aggressively angled headlights and large side intakes pushed wide for a 'sterner' on-road image.

A high rear deck drops down into a tall blunt rear end offset by sleak, long wrap-around tail lights. The high belt line runs parallel to a sharp character line along the bottom sill, presenting a nicely balanced and seriously sporting look.

No technical details are available as yet, but keep an eye on TMR on the 19th of November when we'll bring you all the remaining information on the 2009 Mazda 3.

New-generation Mazda 3 revealed at Sydney motor show

SYDNEY, Australia - The eyes of the world turned to Sydney as the stylish and dynamic new-generation Mazda3 sedan was revealed at the Australian International Motor Show.

Mazda presented first official images of the highly-anticipated new Mazda3, ending months of intense media speculation.

The new-generation Mazda3 will redefine small car benchmarks for styling, handling and value for money when it arrives in Australia around the middle of 2009.

The new Mazda3 will inherit the mantles of Australia's third-best selling passenger car, and a leader in the small car segment that accounts for one-quarter of all new vehicles bought by Australians.

More than 1.5 million first-generation Mazda3s have been sold in more than 100 countries around the world; almost 150,000 in Australia alone since its launch in January 2004. Mazda3 has a class-leading reputation for value for money and driving enthusiasm, and is popular with private buyers.

Mazda Executive Vice President Philip Spender flew to Australia to present first official images of the new-generation Mazda3 sedan at the Sydney motor show.

Embargoes around the world were synchronised with Mr Spender's presentation. As these first official images were revealed on the video screen at Mazda's Darling Harbour stand, these very same images were instantly sent to thousands of the world's automotive media in more than 100 countries across five continents.

"Today is a very important day for new car buyers, both in Australia and around the world," said Mr. Spender.

"Today is the world's first look at the new-generation Mazda3, a compact car that will build further on the Stylish, Insightful and Spirited foundations laid by its predecessor."

With the first-generation Mazda3, Mazda proved that small cars can be stylish and fun to drive as well as economical and affordable. And Australians voted with their wallets, making the Mazda3 one of the biggest-selling passenger cars in Australia.

This new-generation Mazda3 revealed today will take these core Mazda3 qualities to even greater heights, further cementing Mazda3's popularity with Australians.

Mr Spender said the new Mazda3 will be presented in the metal at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19, 2008.

"We chose Sydney to give the world its first look at the new Mazda3's striking design. Following that, North America will host the world debut of the Mazda3 sedan in late November. Shortly after that the new-generation Mazda3 five-door hatchback will debut on the European continent.

"I think it's only fitting that a car that accounts for one-third of Mazda's global sales should have a truly global reveal. "

Mr. Spender said the Mazda3, and small cars in general, are increasingly significant in markets around the world.

"The rising cost of fuel is changing the automotive consumer landscape not only in Australia but around the world. That, and the increasingly high cost of living is driving consumers towards smaller, more affordable, more economical vehicles.

"As a result we're seeing increased levels of equipment, prestige, performance and refinement in small cars, making them even greater value.

"We've developed the new-generation Mazda3 to be a small-car leader around the world. The Mazda3's expressive and emotional styling, heightened driving dynamics, quality and refinement will propel it to even greater heights than the very successful model it replaces."

Building on success

Since its global launch in 2003, the current generation Mazda3 has won more than 90 automotive awards and has set numerous records for Mazda in the small car class.

With that in mind, Mazda designers in Europe, Japan and America, led by Mazda General Manager of Design Laurens van den Acker, endowed the new Mazda3 with a refreshingly expressive design that demands attention. This bold and invigorating new Mazda3 will stand out in a segment cluttered with dowdy lookalikes.

Mazda's global engineering team had an even tougher task: improving on the current Mazda3's superlative handling and driving dynamics that are already class-leading in many countries. Mazda is confident the new-generation Mazda3 will further Mazda's Zoom-Zoom reputation for driving exhilaration in the small car class, and will deliver a more refined and restful ride.

High levels of safety equipment, clever use of emerging technology, aerodynamics improvements and greater drivetrain efficiency not only improve real-world performance; they contribute to a reduction in fuel consumption and guarantee the Mazda3's exemplary environmental credentials.

The Los Angeles Motor Show runs from November 19-30. Mazda will officially unveil the next-generation Mazda3 in North American specification and announce product details at its press conference on Wednesday, November 19, at 12:15pm (local time).

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