HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation has announced today that the Mazda Demio was named the 2008 Automotive Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference of Japan (RJC) Car of the Year. The Mazda CX-7 also won the special “Best SUV” prize. RJC Chairman, Michio Takei, announced the two awards after the final round of balloting.
This year’s RJC Car of the Year winner, the Mazda Demio (known as the Mazda2 overseas), is a compact car that combines distinct styling, superb handling and very competitive running costs with the fun-to-drive spirit of Zoom-Zoom. Demio received high marks from RJC for its great fuel efficiency and drivability. The new model is around 100 kilograms lighter than the previous model, and the 13C-V model grade combines Mazda’s MZR 1.3L Miller-cycle engine with a continuously variable transmission to achieve top class fuel economy of 23.0 km/L in 10-15 fuel mode.
The Mazda CX-7, the recipient of the 2008 RJC special award for Best SUV, is a crossover SUV with sporty, cosmopolitan styling. The Mazda CX-7 was highly evaluated by the RJC for its powerful and responsive driving dynamics thanks to its eco-friendly 2.3-liter direct injection turbocharged engine which is complemented by a six-speed Activematic transmission and the stable, comfortable ride quality provided by its suspension.
Mazda’s Representative Director, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, Hisakazu Imaki, said, “We are delighted to receive these prestigious awards from the RJC. Under our product-led growth strategy, we launched the Mazda Atenza as the first of our next-generation models in 2002 and it won the RJC Car of the Year award. We’re pleased to be chosen again by the RJC for the Mazda Demio, the first new model we introduced after announcing our Sustainable Zoom-Zoom long-term technical development vision this year. We appreciate these accolades as a validation of where we are going with our products. Looking ahead, we will continue to strive to make cars infused with the Mazda spirit.”
The Automotive Researchers’ & Journalists’ Conference of Japan, a nonprofit organization (NPO), was established in April 1990 to contribute to the robust development of Japan’s automotive industry through open research and criticism. The RJC is comprised of researchers who study automotive engineering and automotive journalists. One of the organization’s activities is the annual selection of the RJC Car of the Year, Import Car of the Year, Technology of the Year and other awards.
Models eligible for the 2008 RJC Car of the Year competition came from a field of 22 vehicles launched for sale in Japan between November 1, 2006, and October 31, 2007, with an annual production volume exceeding 5,000 units. Four years have passed since Mazda last won the RJC Car of the Year for the RX-8 in 2003. This is the fifth time that Mazda has won the RJC Car of the Year award since it was established in 1991.