Taking on the heavy hitters in the segment, Mazda has announced its plans to sell up to 30,000 units annually of its new Mazda5 minivan in the U.S.

The United States minivan market has cooled off significantly over the last few year, but Mazda has announced some pretty ambitious sales goal for its all-new Mazda5 people mover.

Mazda sold just 18,500 units of its Mazda5 minivan in the United States last year - a drop off of 16 percent from 2008 - but the Japanese automaker has announced plans to sell as many as 30,000 units annually of the revised.

Thomas Pixton, Mazda's senior managing executive officer, believes that the new Mazda5's improved fuel economy and sporty nature will lure more buyers. "Minivans have gotten bad press in the U.S. lately," Pixton said. "But we're getting a generation of stylish minivans with dynamics much closer to sedans."

We'll have to wait a while to see if Mazd's sales predictions come true as the Mazda5 isn't scheduled to hit U.S. showrooms until next fall. The Japanese version of the Mazda5 comes equipped with automatic start-stop and will soon offer buyers the option of all-wheel drive, but it remains to be seen if those features will be available here.