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by Tim Beissmann

Mazda has designed its last vehicle under its current “nagare” design language, with the Japanese marque’s European design chief telling UK publication AutoExpress that future Mazdas will have an Alfa Romeo-inspired premium look and feel.

Mazda Europe’s UK-based boss, Peter Birtwhistle, confirmed that the brand was finished with the flowing, wedge-shaped styling of recent years.

“Nagare is done. After the [Mazda5], it’s highly unlikely that there will be another nagare car. Mazda has moved on,” Mr Birtwhistle said.

Nagare will go out with a bang rather than a whimper, with the Mazda5 people-mover the vehicle borrowing most heavily from the design language, featuring wave patterns flowing along the doors between the wheel-arches.

Mazda executives in Japan apparently made the final call on nagare after completing the Mazda5, with Mr Birtwhistle admitting it was “particularly difficult to apply to a boxy people-carrier shape”.

Nagare styling was created by designer Laurens van den Acker, who is now design chief at Renault. It was applied to five concept vehicles between 2006 and 2008: the Nagare coupe, Ryuga coupe, Hakaze SUV, Taiki sports coupe, and finally the Le Mans racing Furai supercar.

Mazda’s new head of design, Ikuo Maeda, is currently overseeing a number of concepts under the brand’s new “thrusting motion” moniker. The winning design will be chosen at a private Mazda meeting in September before its official debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show in October.

Little is known about Mazda’s new direction yet, but Mr Birtwhistle confirmed it will apply to every aspect of the vehicles, not just the look.

“[We will become] more like a Japanese Alfa Romeo, producing cars which are great to drive, but crucially that also have the right premium feel, particularly inside,” he said.

(with AutoExpress)




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