Mazda Minagi Concept Heading for Geneva

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As Mazda desperately works to rebuild its styling image, we're getting a clearer picture as to what the Japanese automaker envisions for its future design language. To build some momentum for the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in March, Mazda has just released some new photos of its Minagi Concept. This small CUV will shortly be a new model that will slot in below the CX-7 in both size and price.

More importantly, it'll be the first production model featuring the new design theme, called Kodo. Meaning "soul of motion" in Japanese, the Kodo styling is much improved over the current Nagari smiling theme. Seriously, the front of the cars look like a cat smile (just look at the Mazda3). The Minagi concept combines Mazda's SkyActiv technologies (engine, transmission, body, and chassis) with the Kodo design. It'll be interesting to see how the Minagi concept will translate into the production model.

Mazda is in a unique position these days, as they're now free from Ford control, since the latter sold off their majority stake. As a result, Mazda has more freedom to work as it hopes to improve its reputation not only in exterior styling, but also interior quality.

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