Although Mazda began work on its SKYACTIV technology in 2006, development of the CX-5 crossover only began in 2009, explains CX-5 programme manager Hideaki Tanaka. It was, he said, a big challenge to get the car to market in a little over two years.
As the first all-new SKYACTIV model, the Mazda CX-5 was pioneering a new way of building cars and this meant working very closely with suppliers from the beginning of the programme.
The Mazda CX-5 architecture will also form the basis of Mazda's future C and D segment cars. This meant deciding where all the fixed engineering points had to be and where the flexible points could be, presenting the engineering and design teams with their greatest challenge since both the next Mazda6 and Mazda3 will come from the same architecture but have, for example, different track widths.
Job one for the Mazda CX-5 is at the end of this year with exports beginning in early spring. The car marked a complete change in the development process for Mazda with all areas of the company working very closely together, says Tanaka.
Launched into a segment that is growing globally, the Mazda CX-5 will have a key role to play in enhancing Mazda's brand image and in capturing Mazda3 owners who are ready to move up.
Tanaka says that he was particularly pleased with the dynamics of the CX-5: "The ride and handling are very nice with a significant advantage over its competitors."
He is also particularly pleased with the packaging and the economy, adding that the CX-5 is best in its class when it comes to emission levels with the diesel at 119g/km and the petrol at 139g/km.
Further in-depth information about Mazda SKYACTIV is available at www.mazdaskyactiv.co.uk