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Europe ready for Mazda2

by CAR magazine on 22/01/2003

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The Mazda2 will go on sale in Europe in March and the manufacturer hopes it will be as successful as the Mazda6. The little car is likely to arrive in South Africa too.

The Mazda2 will go on sale in Europe in March and the manufacturer hopes it will be as successful as the Mazda6. The little car is likely to arrive in South Africa too.

According to , the Mazda2, sold in Japan as the Demio, will be built at the Ford plant in Valencia. It is based on the Fiesta platform and the Valencia plant will produce two different cars on one common assembly line.

Mazda said it has planned an annual production of 40 000 units. Mazda is now aiming for a volume of 210 000 units in Europe during 2003, a 15,4 per cent increase over last year’s 182 000 units sold.

“Mazda2 is the second model to come from Mazda’s resurgence strategy, which we call the Millennium Plan. Like the first newcomer, the Mazda6, it is a car that has been designed and developed specifically to meet the needs, demands and expectations of European customers. As such, it will play a key role in increasing our market share and brand awareness across Europe,” said Dan Morris, Mazda Motor Europe vice president for sales.

“Europe plays a very significant and increasing role in Mazda’s global aspirations. The launch of the Mazda6 has been a huge success with the media and customers – and we have reacted fast to market trends by including a latest generation diesel engine using common rail technology. Now, Mazda has started to produce cars in Europe through our partner, Ford.”

The Mazda2 features upslanting headlights and an accented bonnet. It comes in three models: Cozy, Sport and Casual.

The Mazda2 will have four engine options in Europe: 1,25-litre, 1,4-litre and 1,6-litre petrol units, and there is also a 1,4-litre diesel version. It has twin airbags with the passenger airbag automatically deactivated when no front passenger is present or a Mazda child seat is installed. Optional ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), high-mounted brake lights and seatbelt pretensioners also feature.

Mazda says the compact car has improved interior packaging and the exterior design and interior quality now “rank above the rest” with “class-leading driving performance, and enhanced safety features”.

The Mazda2 is planned for South Africa, but Ford spokesman Craig von Essen said a final decision will be made in mid-February.