Mazda2/Demio Launched in Japan

By Brendan Moore

07.05.2007

Mazda kicked off sales of the new Demio in Japan today, planning to wrest back some sales in the minicar segment in Japan. Mazda stated that it expected to sell approximately 60,000 Demios in Japan alone, with another 70,000 units sold globally as the Mazda2 in various countries outside Japan. Additionally, some undetermined amount will be produced in a joint venture in China for the Chinese market.

The original Demio launched in 1996, and spurred both Honda and Toyota to introduce competitors in the segment. Those competitors, the Honda Fit/Jazz, and the Toyota Vitz/Yaris, have gone on to considerable market success in Japan and the rest of the world. Aggregate worldwide sales of the Mazda2/Demio since 1996 hit 1.04 million in May 2007.

This third-generation Mazda2 was developed in tandem with Ford, and will be sold in Europe, Australia/NZ, and other markets over the next several months, but will not be offered for sale in North America. The Mazda2 comes equipped with either a 1.3 liter or a 1.5 liter gasoline engine, and the closeness in specification and size of vehicle has Mazda concerned about cannibalizing sales of the Mazda3, a popular model in North America. Additionally, some development work would be required to make the Mazda2 more saleable in North America, which the company is loath to do if there will be a limited return on the money spent. Nigel Brackenbury, GM of Global Marketing for Mazda, commented, “It’s a matter of prioritizing our resources.”

It is worth noting that the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris, all competitors in this segment, and all offered for sale in the U.S., have exceeded their initial sales projections as the price of gasoline has spiked in the United States.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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7 Comments

  1. Mazda is crazy for not bringing that car here.

  2. I agree, what are they thinking? They’re going to regret that decision, I guaranteee it.

  3. Perhaps Mazda is afraid then the Mazda 2 could cannibale the line-up partially, stealing some sales to the Mazda 3 and even some Mazda 6. In Europe however the context is very different and the 2 and 3 leave together without much troubles. (And it could explain why Renault-Nissan didn’t plan to bring the Logan aka Nissan Aprio in Canada and the US yet, the size and dimensions of the interior are very roomy and with the price who’s a interesting bang for the buck, it could steal some sales from the Versa, Sentra and even to a latter extend the Altima, the Logan had stealed some sales from users who buyed some Twingo, Clio and some Megane buyers in France)

    A suggestion then I taught is Mazda should and/or could test the waters with the Mazda 2 in Canada first before sending it to the US. Mazda 3 are very popular in the Great White North and if the 2 sells well in Canada, now you can bring the 2 in the US.

    And if Fiat will bring the 500 in North America, maybe Ford should bring the Ka as well (and who’s also currently sold in Mexico).

    To see the popularity of the Fit and the Yaris, I wonder if Toyota and Honda lobbied the oil companies (or even buyed a stake of the oil companies) to put some pressure to keep the oil prices high as long as possible to kill the competition and then once that day arrive, they could sale one day their own gas guzzler (looks like we got a little preview of things to come with the Tundra, Sequioa, future Lexus V10, future Acura V10)…maybe I imagined too much conspiration theories lol.

  4. This is little car I would actually buy, and of course it won’t be sold here in America. I love the way this car looks! The photo of the car in green (right-hand side of the page) really shows off the car’s lines. I agree with the other comments: Mazda is nuts if they don’t bring this car here. I just saw an article this morning that Honda dealers can’t get enough Honda Fits to sell. Why wouldn’t Mazda bring the Mazda2 into the U.S.?

  5. My colleague has a Mazda2 he uses for commuting here in Brussels, and he cannot say enough good things about it. I am thinking about buying one myself for the same reason, so I don’t have to drive the large car into work every day.

  6. At the very least, you would think that Ford would take a version of the Mazda2 and put a Ford badge on it. The Focus is getting a little long in the tooth, since we have the old version that hasn’t been sold in Europe for years. We don’t see the German-built current Focus here which is an all-out gem. Ford should at least give us the Mazda2 with a Ford nameplate on it.

  7. Isn’t there a version of this available with around 230 HP? I’m pretty sure there is. It must go like a rocket.

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