Mazda had nothing to say at its news conference. The first 12 of the 15 minutes were used by the Mazda Flying Show, a trick bicycle rider who bounced his two-wheeler up and down and around tables and stairs, before pulling off the cover of the Mazda Shinari concept car. A recording of “Happy Birthday” followed, while hostesses held up placards that repeated the message of the giant television screen, that Mazda is 90 years old.
All that show biz aside, the new design theme behind the Shinari, which was first shown to journalists earlier this month in Milan, is a natural extension of the fact that Mazda has a new head designer, Ikuo Maeda.
Under the automaker’s former head designer, Laurens van den Acker, the key word behind Mazda design was “Nagare” or flow. For several years, Mazda’s concept cars were marked by streaky elements in the bodywork.
The new keyword is “Kodo,” or soul of motion, and the 4-door Shinari uses a surface approach that is more liquid in appearance. It has a huge version of the Mazda pentagon grille, and slitty little eyes for headlamps.
Mr. Maeda has said that designers have focused “on the strength, beauty and tension found in the ‘instantaneous movement’ of animals at the very moment that the motion begins.”