The Mazda2, winner of the 2008 World Car of the Year award, is heading to Canada, according to the Globe and Mail.
Great news! But when is it coming?
Not soon enough. Currently, the Honda Fit runs the subcompact show in Canada. Yes, there are other models in the segment from Chevrolet, Toyota, and Hyundai, but they’re all cheaply made and poorly designed. Honda has offered small car buyers a premium and innovative product for 4 model years now, and still, no other manufacturer has met the Fit’s challenge.
Mazda’s timing is therefore a little tardy. Although Ford doesn’t seem to have a problem showing up late to the show either – the Fiesta is expected within the next 18 months. Interestingly, the Fiesta and the 2 are based on the same platform.
According to Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, the Mazda2 is expected to come to market in the next 12 months. This means that it should be able to beat the Fiesta onto frozen Canadian driveways. Mazda’s newest offering is already available in Europe and Asia but wasn’t released here for fear of cannibalizing Mazda3 sales, according to Yamanouchi. This logic is sorely lacking if we use Honda’s model line-up as empirical evidence. The Fit doesn’t seem to have hurt Civic sales – the Civic is still the number one selling car in Canada.
The subcompact segment is ripe for growth, something that can’t be said about many other segments. As people downsize from larger vehicles to smaller, more fuel-efficient ones, they’ll expect the same premium features in a smaller package. Currently only the Honda Fit can offer that kind of experience but it now looks like Mazda is ready to step into the Octagon. (I thought a UFC reference would be more “2009″ than a boxing reference. So sue me.)