By on January 30, 2019

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It’s already half here. The Toyota Yaris sedan, formerly the Scion iA, is the rebadged twin of the subcompact Mazda launched in Montreal in 2015. You’ll note that Mazda does not sell a second-generation 2 in North America, making that launch a relatively pointless endeavor for the automaker.

Now that Toyota has gone ahead and killed off the Toyota Yaris hatch (the Yaris that’s actually a Toyota), a space has opened up. Chances are good that the little hatch we didn’t get in 2015 will finally arrive in 2020, bearing another brand’s logo.

This speculation comes by way of Car and Driver, which secured word from Toyota spokesperson Nancy Hubbell that the mystery model arriving for the 2020 model year will indeed be a hatchback. Given Toyota’s subcompact partnership with Mazda, a rebadged 2 seems likely.

As we told you last week, the Toyota Yaris hatch (officially, “Liftback”) was not a strong performer in any sense of the word. Its four-speed automatic was one of the last on the market, and its sales amounted to a narrow sliver of the Yaris’ overall 2018 volume — 27,209 vehicles. The hatch’s sell-down helped drag Yaris volume down 38.7 percent last year, though the sedan model only fell 29.3 percent. Hardly a glowing result.

Image: Toyota

Like its first-generation predecessor, the Mazda 2 — and vehicles developed from it — are not as dreary to drive as the Yaris hatch. A new 2-based Yaris hatch would likely carry over the powertrain seen in the sedan, meaning a 1.5-liter four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic or manual, and boast similar front end styling. Why bother adding a new vehicle in a shrinking segment? Well, for starters, Toyota is keen on remaining a full-line brand, and the steady collapse of the subcompact segment actually offers an opportunity.

Ford’s Fiesta disappears this year, with Chevrolet’s Sonic likely to follow (it’s already dead in Canada). As automakers abandon the subcompact car segment, Toyota has an opportunity to collect remaining buyers. Once the Fiesta and Sonic fade from the scene, a subcompact buyer’s remaining choices amount to Yaris, Fit, Accent, Rio, and Versa — the latter of which is no one’s idea of a good time.

If Toyota truly plans to fulfill a promise Mazda made four years ago, we’ll know by April. The automaker expects to offer up details at the New York Auto Show.

[Images: Mazda, Toyota]

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15 Comments on “Will the Aborted Mazda 2 Line Finally Make It Here in Full?...”

  • avatar

    Unfortunate that Toyota saddled this car with a Pleco fish front end.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Another Toyota built br someone else

  • avatar

    Given the collapse of subcompact sales in general, the oil market conditions that are keeping oil prices low that isn’t going to change beyond some huge black swan event like global war, the fact that Mazda wants to be a premium brand, and Mazda not needing CAFE support for sports cars, fullsize SUVs, and pickup trucks – this doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  • avatar

    I have a 2016 Scion IA, first new car I owned in 10 years and the lease is up in May. It’s been a good car, kind of bland, first “Japanese” car I’d ever owned. I remember telling the salesman about it’s origins and 2 different ones didn’t think that could be right; “it’s built by Toyota”…

    Before that I had a Pontiac G6 which I liked but really appreciate the 28-30 MPG in this one. The lack of a middle console is just a really bad thing to do and I understand newer “Yaris” version has some improvements there.

    And then there’s the fish front-end. The day I went to look at one, the salesman said “nobody knows why Toyota designed the odd front end” and once again, I told him “Mazda” but it’s never been a problem for me. No worse than the big Lexus things that goes all over the line.

    I just turned 70 earlier this month and whatever I do, this or the next one I buy will likely be the last car I own.

    • 0 avatar

      How’s the reliability? My daughter might be looking at one of these.

      • 0 avatar

        Sorry for the delay in response. Had a Dr. Appt and then had to go to work. So far it’s been reliable. It has a tire-warning thing that I still haven’t figured out what it does but that sometimes lights up on the dash, I push the button and it turns off, I know that the tire pressure is correct. And like many Japanese or American cars, the owners manual is horrible. Some of the instructions, especially on changing the warning lights and dash lights etc is undecipherable. The dealer will help if you want to wait around.

  • avatar

    I still haven’t quite figured this out. Mazda quit selling the Mazda2 in the US, and I can only assume that was due (at least in part) to it not being profitable.

    Yet Mazda can build them, sell them to Toyota (presumably at a profit) and Toyota can still make a profit. Is it brand cachet? Bigger dealer network?

    Fun fact: You can still buy a Mazda2 in the United States… territory of Puerto Rico. Just not the actual states.

    • 0 avatar

      As I remember, and gladly corrected.

      The first gen Mazda2 was sold here, it was high on the fun to drive scale and build quality scale but low on the content and material scale (nice quality, cheap feeling though). It came in at a time when SUVs and trucks were kings.

      The Gen II Mazda2 came here wearing a Scion badge and was not brought over to Mazda to compete against…itself.

      As I remember.

  • avatar

    Have you forgotten all about the MINI Hardtop? Surely that should be in your list of subcompact hatches! SMH!!

  • avatar

    My only experience with the Mazda2 was one I rented on a business trip to SoCal in late 2015. I understand it was a rental and had probably been abused, but not since the ’80s econoboxes of my youth had I driven anything that felt and sounded so much like a tin can. At least it handled OK when I took a brief sojourn up into the canyons east of Irvine.

  • avatar

    It is a nice looking little ride. The ENd

  • avatar

    Hmmm. Might be a good car for my recent college grad daughter to check out.

    FYI, the sedan is entirely decent. Check one out.

  • avatar

    The Mazda2 hatch is sold in the States, but only at dealers in Puerto Rico. But you can buy it in Puerto Rico and ship to the States.

  • avatar

    They do sell the Mazda2 here. It was given a permanent wave, nail manicure and optional AWD – they call it the CX-3, and sell it for far more money than a straight Mazda2 could ever command. No point in screwing up that gig.

  • avatar

    The EPA website lists fuel economy numbers for a 2019 Mazda 2 with manual and automatic transmission.

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