Geneva motor show 2012: Mazda

* Takeri concept car previews Mazda 6 * Mazda aims to take on 'premium brands' * Mazda MX-5 replacment being planned...

Geneva motor show 2012: Mazda

The Mazda Takeri concept car made its European debut at the 2012 Geneva motor show today and according to Mazda design chief Ikuo Maeda, it will be difficult to spot the difference between it and the all-new Mazda 6 when it launches next year.

Except for futuristic design elements such as the touch open door handles, the Mazda 6 will look virtually identical to the Takeri. 'The 6 needs to have a sexy flavour, and it will follow through the Takeri's simple, yet alluring design,' said Maeda.

See also: All Geneva motor show 2012 news

The Takeri's sleek lines, built up to form 'moving' waves along the body work, will move the Mazda 6 into a new league. It won't just be taking on Ford Mondeo and VW Passatt rivals but will have the appeal to compete with premium brands, he said.

The Takeri is the second embodiment of Mazda's new dynamic Kodo design language, which debuts on the new CX-5. Next up for the Kodo treatment will be the all new MX-5. Maeda is currently studying how to do this fluidly without diluting the image of the iconic sports car.

The new design will help the car's appeal with a younger generation of drivers, particularly in the US where MX-5 buyers tend to be more mature. 'It has to be fun, and ideally it will be smaller, lighter yet still affordable,' said Maeda.

The weight-loss, which is planned to take the MX-5 below its current 1000kgs, will come from Mazda's Sky active technology, which has been in development since 2006, and will showcase on first the CX-5 and then the new Mazda 6.

Sky active has the potential to boost fuel economy and lower co2 emissions by 30%, according to Hiroyuki Matsumoto, vice president of research and development at Mazda Europe. This is achieved via a combination of body, chassis and engine weight reduction, enhanced transmission, and new engine design.

Emma Butcher