EXCLUSIVE: Next Mazda2 to use downsized CX-5 platform
The current Mazda2, launched in 2007, is due for replacement soon
A spokesperson for the company's UK importer has told just-auto that the replacement for the Mazda2/Demio will use the same platform as the far larger CX-5 crossover.
As well as this revelation, just-auto has learned that the firm is moving to four-year model cycles with facelifts after just two years. The still-new Mazda6 will therefore have a lifecycle which ends in 2016 after a makeover in 2014. Volkswagen is perhaps the best example of a rival mass manufacturer which has been moving the other way: the Passat has been on the market for eight years, while the four-year old Polo is yet to be given a mid-life refresh.
Returning to the next edition of Mazda's B-segment sedan and hatchback range, its shared architecture means this model will be able to share multiple modules and powertrains with the existing Mazda6/Atenza and CX-5 as well as the next Mazda3/Axela.
The current Mazda2 is built or assembled in Japan, Thailand, China and Vietnam, but the company's forthcoming Mexican factory will be an additional facility for the next model. The replacement for the Mazda3 will also be made at Salamanca in the state of Guanajuato.
The company at first announced that the Mexican plant would have an initial capacity of 140,000 vehicles a year, operating on two shifts. Then in January this year, Mazda stated that it intends to expand Salamanca to 230,000 cars a year by 2016. Two months prior to that came the news that up to 50,000 units per annum of a Mazda2-based model for Toyota would roll off the same line. Production of that car is not due to commence until "summer 2015", and it is presumed that this will be the replacement for the Yaris in North American markets.
On the topic of the firm's latest assembly operation, a joint venture with Sollers in Vladivostok, the Russian plant is theoretically able to add future FWD-based models such as the successor to today's Mazda3. The factory recently added assembly of the Mazda6 sedan on the line which already made the CX-5.
With the CX-5 and 6 now using the same platform, and the 2 and 3 successors also set to employ this lightweight architecture, almost all of Mazda's remaining FWD-based vehicles should also switch to it in the coming few years. That includes the MPV/Mazda8 minivan (expected in late 2013), CX-9 crossover (2014) and Biante minivan (2016).
Models supplied by other OEMs and/or Kei minivehicles (A-Z Offroad, Carol, Flair & Custom Style, Flair Wagon, Scrum, VX-1) as well as future RWD/AWD vehicles such as the next BT-50 pick-up (2019) or MX-5 roadster (2015), will use different platforms - their lifecycles are not expected to be part of the new four-year rule.
Finally, just-auto asked Mazda's spokesperson if there were any truth in the rumours of a CX-3, an additional model and potential rival for the Nissan Juke, Ford EcoSport and multiple others. No plans, for now, at least, came the official response.
Author: Glenn Brooks