Mazda North American Operations said it would produce 2,000 2003 model year Proteges with the Mazdaspeed high-performance brand for North America.
Mazdaspeed will create high-performance versions of Mazda vehicles, plus parts, accessories and apparel. The 2003 Protege unveiled at the New York auto show is the first vehicle produced by the unit.
Mazda said the parts business would be expanded to include the competition components it already is selling to racers. A special line of Mazdaspeed clothing also will be sold through Mazda dealers.
The Protege version is the successor to the 2002 MP3 sedan. The high-performance Protege has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a Garrett T25 turbocharger and special body features, including a front spoiler.
The Protege model was done in partnership with tuner Callaway Cars Inc., which reworked the engine to produce 170 hp.
The car will go on sale in the fourth quarter, said Charles Hughes, CEO of Mazda in North America. He would not disclose the price but said the vehicle would sell for below $25,000.
The company said more Mazdaspeed vehicles will be unveiled this year and next.