Leverkusen/Frankfurt, Germany (ots) - Cross-reference: picture is available at: http://www.presseportal.de/story.htx?firmaid=33972&dpmlist=bild abrufbar - At the 60th International Motor Show in Frankfurt (11 to 21 September 2003) Mazda is presenting a sensational concept car based on the Mazda2. A sporty compact with four seats, the car combines dynamic styling with a high level of functionality. Particularly striking is the new and revolutionary split tailgate. The Mazda Kusabi design concept is powered by a spirited 1.6 litre common rail diesel engine and offers a high measure of driving dynamics.

The Japanese word "Kusabi" means a fetter or link firmly binding two things: a suitable name for Mazda's new concept for a sporty compact, as it interconnects features to offer customers something extraordinary by comparison with the conventional cars of this segment. The Kusabi embodies the unique concept of a "sports car for everyday use" and offers the customer the typical advantages of a compact: smallness, agility, economy and environmental friendliness - together with extraordinary design and impressive performance. The Kusabi is another innovative example of Mazda's zoom-zoom philosophy.

The Mazda Kusabi is distinguished by an overall length of only 3800 mm, a body width of 1750 mm and yet a long wheelbase of 2490 mm. The extremely short overhang and the 17 inch wheels, the low and dipped position superbly position the car on the road. Its proportions yield a compact form with clear contours immediately creating an aggressive sports car look and an exceptional appearance.

"Kusabi" also means wedge, as in the wedge-like design of the roof. Indeed, the roof has sharp edges and slants down to the rear, creating together with the side windows and the rear window an X-shaped C-pillar in the form of two wedges. The result is a simple and yet extraordinary design, and an aggressive, impressive sports car that rises above the crowd.

With its 2+2 design of the passenger compartment, the new Mazda Kusabi offers a high level of functionality for everyday use. The sporty compact has a revolutionary new tailgate mechanism allowing fast and convenient access to the luggage compartment.

The split tailgate has two entirely different opening options. Two flaps can be individually opened by means of a longitudinal hinge running through the middle of the roof. This version is especially practical for accommodating smaller items. Of course, the tailgate can also be fully opened if larger objects have to be stowed.

The rear part of the passenger compartment of the new Mazda Kusabi offers a level of flexibility unique for this segment. The rear seats have room for passengers, but can also be folded down to provide extremely practical stowage space. For creating even more luggage space, the aluminium struts behind the rear seats can be removed.

The backrests of the front seats in the Mazda Kusabi concept car can be swivelled to allow easy access to the rear seats. A hinge mechanism between the driver and front passenger seats swivels the backrests inwards, like a door, to afford passengers easy entry.