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Sub-Mazda2 city car unviable

Re-badged: Mazda sells a number of ‘kei’ cars based on Suzuki products in its Japanese home market, including the Alto-based Carol.

Mazda says it cannot make the numbers add up for a sub-Mazda2 light hatch

9 Jun 2014


MAZDA has poured cold water over rumours that the brand may be developing a global sub-compact city car to slot beneath the Mazda2.

While a long-standing agreement with Suzuki to sell rebadged versions of its Japanese-market ‘kei’ micro-cars will continue, Mazda says it cannot afford to develop its own rival against the likes of the Volkswagen Up internationally. Speaking to GoAuto in Japan last week, Mazda Motor Corporation director and vice chairman Seita Kanai – who takes up the role as Chairman from next month – said that a return of investment in the sub-B, or micro class is unlikely at this time.

Mazda will instead concentrate its international efforts on competing with models ranging from the 2 light car to the CX-9 large SUV.

“Smaller-sized engines a little bit over 1.0L engine in vehicles from Mazda2 to an over-3.0-litre V6 in the CX-9 – within this range, there is potential for us to deploy a variety of things within that area,” Mr Kanai said through a translator.

“Of course the MX-5 roadster is quite different from that… but from outside this framework, we do not have any plans to produce other vehicles. The younger people within my company will have to think how they deal with that.

“So a ‘Mazda1’ is not inside that framework that I have talked about.

“If you’re asking me if Mazda can be successful by entering into that kind of segment, our conclusion is no, because we cannot make money.

“In Japan we have the ‘A’ class vehicles we buy from Suzuki and sold in Mazda dealerships, but in terms of a vehicle that Mazda develops, we are not thinking about developing a vehicle below the Mazda2 right now.”

In October 2012, Mazda’s general manager of global sales and marketing Yasuhiro Aoyama revealed to GoAuto that a study was being undertaken to investigate the viability of a global micro car model.

At the time he said that even if it was given the green light, customers would not see a sub-Mazda2 until well into the second half of this decade.

“We are always looking at whether we need to produce a sub-B model,” Mr Aoyama said at the time.

The next-generation Mazda2, to be unveiled at the end of this month, is said to be larger than the existing seven-year old version, underlining the need for the company to eventually have a sub-B segment competitor in key European markets in the not-too distant future.

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1st of January 1970

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