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Mazda2 sedan set to return

2 to tango: The previous-generation Mazda2 sedan (left) did not last long in Australia and was discontinued in 2011.

Thai-built four-door Mazda2 is on Mazda Australia’s wishlist for 2015

Mazda logo21 Nov 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in LOS ANGELES

MAZDA is poised to bring the next-generation Mazda2 sedan to Australia to take on the three-box four-door rivals including the Honda City, Holden Barina and Hyundai Accent.

With the just-released five-door hatch version of the third-gen Japanese light car off to a strong start, the swoopy new sedan, to be unveiled at the Thailand International Motor Expo in Bangkok on November 28, is in line for an Australian debut sometime next year.

According to Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders, strong initial dealer orders for the new hatch, combined with a massive improvement in styling and refinement for the upcoming sedan version has increased the chances of the newcomer returning to our shores in the not-too distant future.

“It’s very much under consideration for Australia,” Mr Benders told GoAuto at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. “But of course we’ll continue speaking to the dealers and go through the usual processes before we make any decision on the sedan.”

Many of the Mazda insiders who have already seen the DJ-series 2 sedan believe its styling and proportions, which give it a mini-Mazda3 look, should help persuade potential buyers to look at the four-door light-car.

“It’s a very good looking car,” Mr Benders says. “The moment I saw it I thought ‘Yep, that could really work in Australia.' It’s that attractive.”

Since the sedan will be built alongside the new hatch that’s already been homologated for Australia at the company’s Auto Alliance Thailand facility in Rayong, it would be a relatively straightforward process to import the vehicle here should Mazda give it the green light.

Arch-rival Honda, too, made a similar call last year when it decided to bring in the latest Jazz-based City sedan.

When it surfaced in May this year, the City was expected to account for about 20 per cent of Honda's light-car sales, but it has since run at closer to 30 per cent. To the end of October, 1905 have been sold, against just 588 of the previous version over the same period last year.

Along with its five-door hatch counterpart, the previous DE-series Mazda2 sedan was imported from Thailand for less than one year from 2010.

Due to sluggish sales of the latter in Australia, coupled with runaway demand in South East Asia, Mazda reverted back to sourcing its entire hot-selling light-car range from Japan, where the sedan was not produced.

Back then, the hatch accounted for over 90 per cent of sales.

Mazda also offered a three-door version of the previous 2 in Australia for a couple of years from 2008, but that too was pulled due to a lack of buyer interest. No three-door exists for the current-generation car.

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