Future Models - Mazda 2018 Mazda1
‘Mazda1’ being studied
2 into 1: Mazda could go solo or take a partner such as former owner Ford, whose Fiesta was co-developed with the Mazda2 (illustrated).
Mazda explores a sub-light city runabout and potential partners
18 October 2012
MAZDA is investigating a model to slip beneath the popular Mazda2 as it seeks to drive volume up in key established and emerging markets around the world.
Thought to be the subject of a feasibility study right now, the projected ‘Mazda1’ would not be due until the latter half of this decade at the earliest if it were to be given the green light, according to Mazda general manager of global sales and marketing Yasuhiro Aoyama.
“We are always looking at whether we need to produce a sub-B model,” he told GoAuto on the eve of the Australian International Auto Show in Sydney this week.
Two scenarios are thought to be under consideration – a super-frugal city car like the Volkswagen Up, and a low-cost transport option for emerging markets.
Mr Aoyama said the former would have to be eventually developed to help Mazda meet tough future European emissions regulations and would require low weight and downsizing technology.
The second option would enable Mazda to make headway in emerging markets in South-East Asia with an inexpensive runabout, such as the vehicles proposed by Nissan for its resurrected Datsun brand.
Part of the study involves the likelihood of a partnership arrangement with another manufacturer, such as the successful deal Toyota has with PSA Peugeot Citroen for their Czech-built Aygo/107/C1 trio.
Mazda is looking for a partner offering inexpensive labour or government incentives to reduce costs of the sub-B car, with Indonesia a potential manufacturing source.
Potential partners include the Fiat Group – which recently forged a link with Mazda to co-develop an Alfa Romeo convertible with the next-generation MX-5 in about 2014 – and former owner Ford, whose Fiesta has since 2002 shared its platform with the Mazda2.
Ford’s current sub-B segment model, the second-generation Ka released in 2009, is currently manufactured alongside the Fiat 500 in Poland, but Fiat’s acquisition of Chrysler and Jeep in 2009 may see the end of that tie-up with the next-generation models.
However, Mr Aoyama said Mazda has the design and engineering capabilities to go it alone if necessary should it decide to go ahead with a sub-B vehicle.
“Mazda has the resources to do a sub-B car,” he said.
“But there are many things that still need to be considered before that could happen … and so we have nothing to report right now.”
Mr Aoyama said Mazda’s European network must be more profitable before undertaking an all-new model line, because some areas are not yet sustainable and therefore could not afford the distribution and marketing costs.
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