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Mazda to hit celebrities for 6 with diesel

Golden moment: Paralympic swimmer Matthew Cowdrey and Olympic cyclist Anna Meares – both gold medalists at the recent games in London – with one of the celebrity race weapons of mass destruction, the new Mazda6.

Grand prix celebrity racers to give Mazda6 its marketing lift-off in 2013

10 Oct 2012

MAZDA will use next year’s Australian Formula One Grand Prix celebrity race in Melbourne to underscore the sporting credentials of its new-generation Mazda6 that is destined for local showrooms in the first quarter of 2013.

Australia’s leading full-line car importer today was named the sponsor and car supplier for the bash-and-biff event which pits various sports stars and show business personalities against each other in the traditional grand prix pipe-opener at the Albert Park circuit.

The celebrities will race diesel-powered Mazda6 sedans with the standard automatic transmission in the sprint, which is a one-off for Mazda at this stage, although it says it will consider extending the arrangement.

The race was not held this year due to a lack of willing car company sponsors after Lexus pulled out following the 2011 event, but Mazda has stepped up to the plate with 20 new Mazda6 sedans for 2013.

Mazda joins a long list of companies to throw their hat into the celebrity race ring, with the likes of Ford, Holden, Nissan, Fiat, BMW, Mini and Lexus all using the event to drive publicity for their models since the event was first staged in Adelaide in the mid 1980s.

Mazda Australia national marketing manager Alastair Doak said the race would be an important part of the company’s launch strategy for Mazda6.

“New technology such as i-Eloop (a capacitor-based energy regeneration system) is just one the many reasons that we feel we’re on to a winner,” he said.

“All-new Mazda6 is the first car to feature i-Eloop, which is the next step in the rollout of our innovative SkyActiv technologies designed to improve fuel efficiency and to enhance the joy of driving.”

So far, only three of the drivers for the March 17 race have been announced – Olympic gold-medal cyclists Anna Meares (of Australia) and Chris Hoy (of Britain), and Paralympic swimmer Matthew Cowdrey.

The Mazda6 is set to get its first public outing at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney next Thursday, where the sedan and wagon versions will be previewed alongside the facelifted CX-9 people-mover.

The new mid-sized Mazda6 is a ground-up redevelopment of the popular family car, not only getting a new platform but also new four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines mated with new transmissions.

Mazda is hoping the new Mazda6 will help it to maintain the sales momentum that helped it to become the first importer to achieve 10,000 sales in a month in September.

So far this year, Mazda sales are up 18.1 per cent – almost double the average sales improvement by vehicle manufacturers in Australia this year.

Meanwhile, rival Hyundai has announced it will continue its long-term sponsorship of tennis’s Hopman Cup for another year, paying for the naming rights for the next event in Perth starting on December 29.

Hyundai has sponsored the tournament since its inception in 1988, stepping up to the title sponsor role 1998.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia chief executive officer Edward Lee said the new agreement would not only continue Hyundai’s investment in tennis but also begin a new relationship with the International Tennis Federation.

“We look forward to sharing the excitement and success of this venture with them, and the legion of tennis fans across the country,” he said.

This year, the Hopman Cup moves from its tradition home at Burswood to the new Perth Arena.

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