California Autos Examiner

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mazda2: Not A Shoo-In For U.S. Market

Another unfortunate pun on my part, but one of the reasons that the Mazda2 will be making a delayed entry into the U.S. market is the fact that four cylinder engine Mazda has certified for the U.S. market cannot be shoehorned into the Mazda2’s engine bay and the smaller engine that will work hasn’t passed U.S. emissions tests. Automotive News is reporting that the Mazda2 will finally debut for model year 2011. It’s important to note that Mazda hasn’t even officially confirmed the Mazda2 for the U.S., let alone given a timeline for its arrival. The 2011 model year intro would make sense because Mazda is busy launching the new 2009 Mazda6 right now and then the Mazda3 for model year 2010.

Since the Mazda2’s platform mate, the Ford Fiesta, will also be on sale here in the U.S, I’ll be interested to see how Mazda differentiates itself. In the past, Ford has been the value leader and Mazda the zoom-zoom, sporty option with better equipment levels. However, now that Ford has tasted the profit making “option Kool-Aid,” I’m sure that many Fiestas will be cranked out with high levels of content. I suppose that the Mazda2 will still be the sportier of the bunch, but because Ford and other manufacturers need to make profits from smaller cars now that the cash cow SUVs have gone out to pasture, the difference won’t be as obvious. It may come down to which car’s styling you like better and some slight performance/equipment variations.

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