Mazda starts production of 2015 Mazda2/Demio in Japan

Article by Christian A., on July 19, 2014

Mazda Motor Corp. has commenced production of the next-generation Mazda2 subcompact in Hofu, Japan and has even released the first images of the production model. Based on the images, the fourth-generation Mazda2 – called Demio in Japan -- carries the sharp creases and sportier stance of the brand’s new Kodo design language.

Mazda will start selling the subcompact in Japan in the fall and in the United States in 2015. It features the full suite of Mazda’s Skyactiv technologies, like new engines, transmissions, body, and chassis. It is the fourth Mazda nameplate to get the Skyactiv makeover, following the CX-5 crossover and Mazda6 and Mazda3 sedans.

The US-bound Mazda2 is expected to be built at Mazda’s new Salamanca factory, Mexico, which the carmaker opened earlier this year. Supplemental volume for the US market may also be sourced from Japan, although the carmaker has yet to release details of its sourcing plans.

Mazda currently source all of its Mazda2s from Japan. The carmaker posted a 42-percent surge in sales of the outgoing Mazda2 in the US to 7,957 vehicles in the first half of 2014, which came on the heels of an inventory clear-out.

In 2013, Mazda posted a 39-percent drop in sales of the subcompact to 11,757, placing it near the far end of the segment.

The fourth generation Mazda2 features a new Kodo design language that comes with curvy fender flairs, sharp side creasing and shield grille. Its features a longer hood and rear-slung cabin, as accentuated by a raked rear and wheels pushed to its corners.

Mazda is introducing the fourth to be wrapped in its KODO - Soul of Motion design: the all-new Mazda2. Known for defying conventions, the Japanese carmaker has already managed to set new design standards with its other new-generation models. Now, Mazda is set to defy convention anew by making the Mazda2 share the attributes of these new models -- muscular lines, a rear-leaning cabin and solid stance. In effect, Mazda is giving more reasons to expect more from its future offerings.

Creating a five-door hatchback laden with utmost vibrancy and emotion isn't a simple project. Knowing that the task ahead presents a great challenge, Mazda’s designers looked into what its rivals are up to and once again defied conventions.

For instance, Mazda ignored the typical B-segment "one-motion" style that moves the A-pillars forward, thereby making it seem that the cabin is roomier and more practical. Instead, Mazda re-engineered KODO for supermini dimensions, which at a glimpse seem to sacrifice practicality but in reality offer an unmatched level of utility.

To tackle the challenge, Mazda moved the front axle forward by 80mm and the A-pillars rearward by 80mm. The resulting short overhangs -- along with higher rear shoulders, larger tires with a wider track, minimal wheel-arch clearance – lend the Mazda2 a well-planted footing. While the load seems to fall on the rear axle, the extra room on the front allows the subcompact to have enough space to accommodate SKYACTIV powertrains, the larger wheels and a more substantial crumple zone.

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