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Mazda's MPS is dead: brand's president won't revive performance division for new 3

Mazda won't be reviving the MPS brand

Are you hanging on for a return to the heady days of MPS-branded performance Mazdas? It's time to give up hope, with company president Akira Marumoto today confirming the nameplate is dead, taking any hopes for performance-focused Mazda product with it.

And that includes the new Mazda 3, just revealed at the LA Auto Show, with company heavyweights pouring buckets of cold water on the idea.

The reason, says Mr Marumoto, is Mazda is too small a company to focus its engineering division on developing performance vehicles, instead focusing on inserting "driving pleasure" into its regular range.

"Mazda is a small player, and so does that particular area have a high priority for Mazda? My answer is no," he says. "And therefore we are not planning an MPS either."

MPS was once Mazda's performance sub-brand, most recently responsible for the Mazda3 MPS, powered by a turbocharged 2.3-litre engine good for 190kW and 390Nm, which was discontinued in 2013.

But it's not all bad news, with Mr Marumoto also confirming that, in an age of ever-increasing focus on autonomy, Mazda will never build a car without a steering wheel.

The brand is planning a demonstration of its autonomous technology in 2020, ahead of a full-scale roll-out by 2025. But rather than complete driverless technology, the Japanese brand is instead focusing on what it calls a Co-Pilot Concept.

"We'd like to do a demonstration program in 2020, and we'd like to introduce that technology to market in 2025. But Mazda is a company that delivers driving pleasure, so w'd never build a ar without a steering wheel," he says.

"However, in the instance where a driver feels sick and can't continue the driving, the automous technology will override and take over the controls and pull the car over in a safe place. We call it Mazda Co-Pilot Concept."

Would you like to see a return to performance-focused Mazdas? Tell us in the comments below.

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to...
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