Mazda banking on 2011 Mazda2 to double its sales in the U.S.

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

Mazda anticipates that its subcompact sales in the US will double by 2012 to 1 million annually. And to achieve this, Mazda is placing its hopes on its 2011 Mazda2 being a major player in a subcompact surge in the next two years. Included in this segment are the following models: the Honda Fit, Kia Soul, Mini, Nissan Versa, Scion tC and Toyota Yaris.

Mazda predicts that a majority of the sales will come from Generation Y, comprised of about 73 million people from 16 to 32. Robert Davis, senior vice president of product development and quality at Mazda North American Operations, said that this will be the first new-car purchase of about 25% of its buyers.

During development, the carmaker had prioritized a comfortable ride, good handling characteristics and a solid feel to the vehicle.

Sales start in August for the new Mazda2, a five-door hatchback that is the smallest and lowest-priced vehicle that Mazda sells in the US. Mazda revealed that the Mazda2 and the 2011 Ford Fiesta share vehicle architectures as well as some parts sets, including front and rear wheel bearings, front bumper strut mounts and the front sway bar and links.

Mazda asserts though that all other features are distinct to each vehicle, including the engine and transmission.The third-generation Mazda2 will be launched in the US this summer. This redesigned Mazda2 will then start selling in Europe, Asia and Japan.

Mazda's dealerships in North America actually didn't offer the two previous generations. The Mazda2 and the Fiesta vary in their horsepower and torque.

Mazda's standard 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine has an output of 100 hp and 98 pounds-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the Fiesta's 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 120-hp and 112 pounds-feet of torque. [via autonews - sub. required]

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