Mazda today said it would begin selling its redesigned 2 hatchback in the US and Canada by the end of 2010, the latest of several European and Japanese subcompacts finally taking a stake in the American market.
“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's North American president Jim O’Sullivan to a dealer conference today. “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 Mazda 3."
The Mazda 2, based off the Ford Fiesta which is also coming to the US next year as a 2011 model, has been on sale in Europe since 2007 (and has a longer history in Japan, where it's known as the Demio). The latest version, which debuted next to the Fiesta 3- and 5-door models at the 2008 Geneva Auto Show, offers a choice of 1.3 and 1.5 liter four-cylinder engines, plus a 1.4 liter turbodiesel. We'll see the US version at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show in December, and expect the US to get the 1.5 liter, which is good for 102 horsepower.
Small cars have typically bombed with the American public during long waves of cheaper gas prices, but the market is growing fast. Also next year, Chevrolet plans to introduce its Spark subcompact and Chrysler is intent on selling the Fiat 500 (as a Fiat) at its US dealers.
We've already got the Kia Soul, Nissan Cube, and Daimler's (struggling) Smart brand. So will Mercedes bring over its A- and B-Class cars, BMW its 3- and 5-door 1 Series, Volkswagen its Polo? Don't bet against it.
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