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May launch pad for Mazda2 sedan

May day: The refreshed Mazda2 - including a new sedan - will arrive from Thailand in May.

Mazda’s Thai baby twins to get fresh look and equipment upgrade, but three-door out

17 Feb 2010

MAZDA Australia will drop the entry-model three-door variant of its Mazda2 hatch in May when its adds a sedan to the existing five-door hatch in a new-look range from Thailand.

Although there is no word yet on pricing of the new model, Mazda has indicated the revised range will be well equipped, with alloy wheels and curtain airbags among the features standard on the sedan – its first light car with a boot since it discontinued the Mazda 121 ‘bubble car’ sedan in 1996.

The switch to Thai manufacturing takes advantage of Thailand’s free-trade agreement with Australia, allowing Mazda to slice the five per cent import duty from the vehicle’s cost while bringing it into line with products from rivals such as Honda, which imports the Jazz hatch and City sedan from Thailand, and Nissan’s Tiida.

However, that does not mean the Mazda2 will be automatically cheaper, as the company may take the opportunity to add specification or simply pocket some profit.

And with the cheaper, three-door hatch getting the chop, Mazda might struggle to match the existing $16,030 entry price.

In the current Japanese-sourced range, the three-door cars are about $1000 cheaper than the five-door variants in similar spec.

The three-door was added to the Mazda2 range some months after its initial launch as a five-door model only in 2007.

As GoAuto reported last October, the Mazda2 will be sourced from the Ford-Mazda joint venture Auto Alliance Thailand (AAT) passenger car plant – the same factory that will build the similar Ford Fiesta in both sedan and hatch forms for Australia.

22 center imageLeft: Mazda2 five-door.

Mazda and Ford already make their one-tonne utes – the Mazda B-Series and Ford Ranger – at the AAT facility.

Mazda will take the opportunity of the May re-launch to give refresh the Mazda2, which has been on sale in Australia since 2007.

It promises a “dynamic new look” and equipment upgrades, with features including 15-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, front, side and curtain SRS airbags, ABS and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). ESC is already standard.

The Mazda2 range will still be powered by the 76kW 1.5-litre petrol engine match with either a five-speed manual gearbox or four-speed automatic transmission.

Mazda Australia marketing manager Alastair Doak said Mazda hoped the extended Mazda2 range would expand its appeal.

“Having listened to customer feedback and studied the light segment very closely, we believe that the new Mazda2 sedan offers the potential to engage with a whole new set of customers,” he said.

Mazda says it has sold 35,000 Mazda2s since the line was launched in 2007.

Last year, it was the third best-selling light car in Australia with 13,335 sales – down 15.6 per cent from its peak of 15,797 units in 2008.

It is Mazda’s second-best-selling model behind the Mazda3 small car.

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