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IRVINE, Calif. - Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today donated 10 clean-burning, fuel efficient prototype Tribute Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) at a ceremony at OCFA's headquarters in Irvine, Calif. The Tribute HEVs will be in service for two years. The vehicles are prototypes of a gasoline-electric hybrid version of Mazda's Tribute compact SUV and are the first of 30 total Tribute Hybrid SUVs that Mazda will loan to fire agencies across Southern California.

These Tribute HEVs, clad in the familiar OCFA red and white, will be driven by OCFA staff in various assignments throughout Orange County. They will mainly be used for non-emergency functions, such as travel to fire safety inspections, educational programs, and fire station maintenance activities.

"We wanted to give something back to the community with these Tribute Hybrid SUVs," said Jim O'Sullivan, MNAO's president and CEO. " Southern California firefighters are among the best in the country, and we're proud to have them in our backyard. The lives and property of our employees and dealers were saved a few years ago by these brave men and women, and it is a privilege for us to be able to partially repay their courageous efforts with the two-year loan of these Tribute HEVs."

Other fire departments in Los Angeles, Corona, San Bernardino, San Diego and Riverside will also receive the environmentally responsible Tribute HEV prototypes, courtesy of Mazda.

Patrick McIntosh, OCFA Assistant Fire Chief, along with several firefighters, was on-hand to receive their Tribute Hybrids.

"We are so grateful to Mazda for their generous loan of these four-wheel-drive Tribute HEV prototypes," said McIntosh. "What makes this such a significant gesture by Mazda is that these are clean, fuel-efficient SUVs, which means we can evaluate the reduction in our operating costs while contributing to a healthier environment."

Putting Tribute HEV prototypes into the hands of the Southland fire agencies also helps Mazda.

"Although we don't sell a Tribute HEV now, the varied driving conditions these vehicles will be put through, as well as the input on on-road performance we will receive from the fire agencies, will be valuable in the development of our first production HEV," O'Sullivan added.


Mazda's Tribute HEV is 99.4 percent cleaner, on average, than a conventional vehicle, yet still delivers the performance required by SUV owners. With a combined output of 155 horsepower, this Tribute HEV provides plenty of power yet meets strict Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEVII) and Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standards in California - the strictest emission regulations a gasoline-fueled vehicle can meet.

Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.

The Orange County Fire Authority is a joint powers authority that serves as the all-risk emergency response agency for 1.3 million Orange County residents in 22 cities and the unincorporated areas of the county.

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