For years Mazda and Ford shared everything from vehicle platforms and engines to even design teams. However, the two parted ways in the later parts of 2008 though the legacy of the partnership would continue for a few more years to come.

Fast forward to today and Mazda is on the verge of launching the first model based on a new platform created primarily by its own engineering team.

That model is the upcoming 2013 Mazda CX-5 crossover, the first of a completely new line of cars using Mazda's latest production techniques and SKYACTIV range of green technologies.

This new line of cars, Mazda has confirmed, will include the next-generation Mazda3 and Mazda6, the latter being the production version of the stunning Takeri Concept from last month’s 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. This new Mazda6 is expected to be revealed next spring before hitting showrooms late in 2012.

Developing the new platform underlying all of these vehicles was no easy task, explains CX-5 project manager Hideaki Tanaka.

As the first brand new SKYACTIV model, the Mazda CX-5 was pioneering a new way of building cars and this meant working very closely with suppliers from the start of the project.

Additionally, since the CX-5’s platform would spawn the next Mazda3 and Mazda6,  albeit with different track widths, Tanaka and his team needed to decide where all the fixed engineering points had to be and where the flexible points could be.

Another major hurdle was the implementation of 1,800 megapascal (approximately 261,000 psi) ‘ultra-high tensile steel’ in its construction. The new steel is not only much stronger than regular steel, it’s also significantly lighter.

Nevertheless, Mazda has made sure the CX-5 and its future platform mates will retain some of that "Zoom Zoom" spirit in the way they drive. "The ride and handling [of the CX-5] are very nice with a significant advantage over its competitors," says Tanaka.

For full details on the 2013 Mazda CX-5, click here.