Mazda is on a drive to raise its market share in Europe ahead of the launch of its latest model at the Frankfurt auto show this week.

The Japanese car group unveiled its intention to become a challenger brand across the continent at an event hosted by Lech Walesa, the former president of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and its European CEO Jeff Guyton, in Warsaw on the weekend.

Mazda has only about 1.5 per cent of the UK car market. It is also marketing itself as a challenger in a series of adverts, such as one featuring the US high-jumper Dick Fosbury, who revolutionised the way athletes jumped with his flop style in the late 60s.

"Our biggest challenge in Europe is to get to the stage where we become known as an aspirational brand," said Guyton.


He said the company has 10 per cent market share in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, and is highly regarded.

"We will get to this level elsewhere. We want to become a stronger brand in Europe."

Mazda was driving a convoy of its new Mazda3 models from Hiroshima, where the company was founded and based, to Frankfurt for the motor show, with a stopover in Warsaw for the Nobel Peace Prize event.