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Lid comes off CX-9

It is a cutaway without a roof. It was sliced in the United States to show the space and flexibility in the biggest passenger vehicle to carry a Mazda badge.

The dissected CX-9 will be at the show alongside a regular road runner that's also coming from America. The production car should arrive next week.

Both are left-hand-drive because right-steer cars will not be on the production line in America until the end of the year.

"Right-hand-drive production won't start until then. We are the only right-hand-drive country taking the existing CX-7," Mazda

Australia spokesman Alastair Doak says.

"The CX-9 is being developed specifically for the Australian market. It is fantastic that they are making that effort for us."

Doak says Mazda is keen to allow potential customers to see the CX-9 early after the success of the CX-7, the company's first crossover people mover.

"We definitely want to have the CX-9 at the show. The cut body has had the roof removed so people can see inside," he says.

Doak says Mazda Australia expects solid demand for the newcomer, a seven-seater with a V6 engine.

"It is a mid-sized crossover. It does what the CX-7 does for its sector in a bigger size.

"It is a whole new level of style while delivering the Mazda `zoom-zoom' driving dynamics."

Mazda Australia moved quickly to get the CX-9, even though it is not going to Britain or Japan.

"The people-mover segment is not large in Australia. But, obviously, a three-row crossover wagon has a much larger pond to fish in," Doak says.

"We haven't talked price, but it sits above CX-7. The leather CX-7 is $46,000 and it will be significantly larger than that," Doak says.

"There is no relationship in architecture between these two vehicles. They are stand-alone. They have the same school of styling, but the CX-9 will come only as a V6, and will have a six-speed automatic gearbox."