Mazda Motor Corp. has begun production on its next-generation 2016 model-year CX-9 mid-size SUV at its factory in Hiroshima, Japan.

Mazda has redesigned the three-row CX-9 for 2016 with improved performance, new safety features, and a fresh design nearly nine years after the first generation model.

Mazda plans to sell 80% of its global sales of 50,000 units in the U.S. and Canada, where utility vehicles have increased in popularity. U.S. sales of the CX-9 will begin in the spring.

The 2016 CX-9 is powered by Mazda's new SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine. Mazda's Dynamic Pressure Turbo is the first turbocharger with the ability to vary the degree of exhaust pulsation depending on engine speed, according to the automaker.