The current Demion (Mazda2 outside Japan) is long overdue for a replacement. Originally released all the way back in 2007, the compact hatchback hasn’t seen an update since the recession. While the Demio is still a fine car, the hatchback segment has only become more competitive over the past six years, and an outdated model just isn’t going to cut it any longer. Plus, 2007 is before we’d even heard whispers of Mazda’s now-highly-acclaimed Skyactiv technology.
Speaking of Skyactiv, the Mazda CX-5 was the first vehicle built with the basic components of the hyper-efficient platform architecture. The Mazda6 was next, and it was built from the ground up to leverage the Skyactiv technology suite. Now, according to “a spokesperson for [Mazda’s] UK importer,” just-auto reports that the Mazda2 will take a unique approach from both the CX-5 and the Mazda6 – it’s simply going to use the same platform as the CX-5.
Now, readers with a working knowledge of geometry will note that the proportions of a compact hatchback are significantly smaller than those of a crossover SUV. Obviously, there’s going to be some pretty serious adjustments involved in porting the CX-5’s Skyactiv platform into the Mazda2’s much smaller dimensions. However, there are significant benefits to doing so.
For example, borrowing the CX-5’s platform will allow the Mazda2 to utilize the same “modules and powertrains” as the crossover. This means development savings for Mazda, and since the CX-5 has been so well-received anyways, it makes sense to leverage pre-existing engineering for the next Skyactiv car. They can’t build every single one from the ground up.
In addition, if the CX-5’s platform can be adjusted to fit the much smaller Mazda2, then the Japanese brand can take a similar approach with all their other FWD vehicles in need of Skyactiv updating. If they can do it for the Demio, there’s no reasons they couldn’t make similar adjustments for the Mazda8 minivan, the Mazda3 sedan, the CX-9 crossover or the rumored CX-3 crossover.
Mazda Takes a Cue From Millward Brown
Last week, we discussed the results of a Millward Brown study that demonstrated the benefits of frequently releasing new vehicles. In short, the automakers who released the most cars in 2012 also experienced the most growth (relatively speaking).
So, from here on out there’ll be no more of this “no updates for seven years” nonsense from Mazda. According to just-auto, Mazda plans to adopt a strict four-year lifecycle with almost all of their vehicles. They’re also planning to begin refreshing all models at the two year mark, so a car never sits stagnant for more than two years at a time. Seems like a smart move.
All in all, I’m happy to hear about these developments from Mazda. You can tell that they’ve taken heart from their recent success with Skyactiv, and its refreshing to hear an air of confidence from an underdog Japanese car brand. It’ll be interesting to see how the Mazda2 turns out… I suspect it’ll have a big impact on how Mazda decides to implement their Skyactiv platform in the future. Either way, we’ll have more information coming before the end of the year, so stay tuned.leave a response, trackback from your own site