Mazda Australia won’t follow Ford and Hyundai in ditching its light cars, sticking by the Mazda 2 hatch and sedan.
Now in its seventh year of production, the current fourth-generation Mazda 2 may not be the top-seller it once was. But Mazda Australia says the light hatch and sedan did “better than expected” in 2020, forcing it to seek an increased allocation from the factory.
“We are absolutely committed to the car, it’s doing well,” said Alastair Doak, marketing and product director for Mazda Australia.
“It’s an important segment – obviously, it’s a first car for many people. There’s also a niche there of last car for some people as well.”
“That’s the role Mazda 2 has played for us for a long time, and CX-3 also picks up some of that territory as well.”
Numerous manufacturers have abandoned the lower end of the new car market citing slowing sales and increased costs, led by Ford with its Fiesta and Hyundai with the i20 and Accent, but Mr Doak said the Mazda is confident in its strategy and remains committed to the light segments in Australia.
“When we launched the current model, and then the update, we put the price up and everyone went ‘oh, what’s going on? Mazda’s priced themselves out of the market,” Mr Doak said.
“So now, we’re staying with [the 2] and having success with it, which is nice.”
At the time of writing, the Mazda 2 can be had from $21,990 drive-away for the entry-level G15 Pure with manual transmission, climbing to $26,990 for the flagship G15 GT with standard six-speed automatic. Once upon a time, the Mazda 2 Neo was around $16,990.
Mr Doak’s comments also seem to account for fellow Japanese brand Toyota, following the massive price jumps of the latest Yaris light hatch. Toyota’s one-time $16,990 drive-away city car now starts at $22,130 before on-road costs with a manual transmission.
In 2020, Mazda sold 3790 examples of its city-sized hatch and sedan, for a 10.4 per cent share of the segment – down 53.8 per cent on the year prior. The Mazda 2 placed fifth overall behind the MG 3, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio and Suzuki Swift.
Should you need a clearer idea of where the Australian new car market is heading, the related and more expensive CX-3 topped the Light SUV class last year with 13,953 sales in 2020 and a massive 48.5 per cent share of the segment.
An all-new Mazda 2 is reported to be on track for reveal later this year, riding on a much lighter new platform and offering the option of a three-cylinder petrol mild-hybrid powertrain.
While Mazda Australia’s executives wouldn’t let on to any details of a next-generation Mazda 2, the local arm’s strong stance on offering local customers whatever it can bodes well for the nameplate’s long-term prospects.