The first production Mazda 2 has come off the assembly line at the Ford plant in Valencia.
Mazda plans annual production of 40,000 units for European markets.
A team of 70 engineers from Japan has been working at the Valencia plant to tailor the 2, known as the Demio in Japan, to the European market.
For Ford, the incorporation of the 2 into the production schedule has meant that the Valencia plant has become a completely flexible manufacturing facility, producing two different cars – the other is the Ford Fiesta – on one common assembly line.
Mazda is aiming for a volume of 210,000 units in Europe during 2003 – a 15.4% increase over last year (182,000) – with the 2 expected to contribute 14% of the total.
In most European markets the 2 will be sold with four engine options: Ford 1.25-litre, 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol units that deliver 75 hp, 80 hp and 100 hp, respectively, plus a 1.4-litre 68 hp diesel engine using common rail technology.
The 2 will arrive at dealers during March/April.
Ford previously re-badged a version of its previous-generation Fiesta hatchback for Mazda to sell in Europe as the 121. That car was built at the now-closed Dagenham plant in England.