Mazda joined the growing roster of automakers launching European and Asian city-sized compact cars in the US with the LA show debut of the B-segment 2 (known as the Demio in Japan), which will be launched next year as a 2011 model.

In recent years, Mazda's smallest North American offering has been the C-segment 3 which has been critically acclaimed in the US and Canada (particularly the sporty MPS versions) and has often topped the import sales chart north of the border where it is most popular in sedan form.

Originally launched in 2007, the current 2 was first introduced in Europe, Japan and Australia and has won 48 automotive awards, including 'Car of the Year' in many markets, including Japan, New Zealand, Chile, Bulgaria and Greece.

It was also named '2008 World Car of the Year' (WCOTY) at the 2008 New York motor show. Global sales to date have totalled over 370,000 units in the three years since its introduction.

North American versions, which will also be sold in Mexico, will have a 1.5-litre petrol engine with standard five-speed manual transmission and optional four-speed automatic.

The 2 shares its platform with Ford's European Fiesta, unveiled in US specification in LA yesterday.

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