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Mazda redesigns MPV minivan with an eye on the competition

DETROIT (AP) -- Mazda Motor Corp. will price its redesigned 2000 MPV -- its first new minivan in a decade -- at just under $20,000 for the base model.

List prices will range from $19,995 for the base DX model to $25,550 for the luxury ES model. Those prices make the imported MPV competitive with minivans offered by domestic and foreign automakers.The new MPV is Mazda's bid to re-establish itself in the increasingly competitive minivan market. Richard Beattie, president and chief executive of Mazda's North American operations, has said that Mazda expects to triple MPV sales to between 50,000 and 60,000 units a year after it goes on sale in July.

The MPV, which debuted at this year's New York auto show, features an unusual rear seat that folds flat into the floor or quickly flips backward to make a seat for tailgate parties.