Mazda has just announced that it will bring the Mazda2 model to market in North America late next year, to compete in the growing sub-compact market alongside models like the Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, Honda Fit and Ford’s upcoming Fiesta.
“You’ve asked us for it for a while now, and we’ve been studying the market to make sure we can make a business case for it across North America,” said Mazda North America CEO Jim O’Sullivan. “As consumers’ tastes and attitudes toward small vehicles have changed, we now believe strongly there is a place in our lineup for a car below our current least-expensive car, the MAZDA3. MAZDA2 will be true to everything that makes our cars stand apart from the competition: it will be stylish, fun-to-drive and a heck of a value. In short, it will be Zoom-Zoom.”
There is no word on any specifics about the North American model, but in Europe and Japan (where it is sold as the Demio) it is available as a three-door and five-door hatchback, while a sedan version is available in China. Several different gasoline and diesel engines are available overseas, with a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder making just over 100hp a likely option for North America.
The current Mazda2 model was introduced in 2008, when it won World Car of the Year. It is based on the same chassis that underpins Ford’s European Fiesta, which, by no coincidence, will also be on sale in North America by 2011.
Over the past 12 months Ford sold-off much of its stake in Mazda and recently announced it would bring to North America the European Grand C-Max MPV, which would compete directly with the Mazda5. The introduction of the 2, while no-doubt a pure business decision, is also very much a well-timed retaliation.