It was January of 2015 and I was standing in a small venue in Montreal. The space was dark save some access lighting and red spotlights pointed at a sheet-covered car.
A few moments later, the sheet was pulled off, and Mazda Canada announced the 2016 Mazda 2 would be coming to The Great White North.
Eleven months later, Mazda Canada would reverse that decision, citing other all-new products — namely the CX-3 and MX-5 — requiring Mazda’s full attention. After all, the small automaker didn’t want to spread itself too thin, and it wasn’t like the previous-generation Mazda 2 set the sales charts on fire — on either side of the border.
In America, Mazda North America Operations had zero intention of selling the subcompact in any region other than Puerto Rico. Yet, year after year since the model went on sale in other global markets, Mazda continues to certify the Mazda 2’s emissions system with the California Air Resources Board, effectively making it eligible for retail sale in any of the 13 “CARB states” and District of Columbia.
Meanwhile, Mazda says it still has no intention to sell the Mazda 2 in America. What’s going on? We reached out to Mazda to get an answer.
New-to-TTAC reader Kobe writes:
I’ve only begun to read TTAC and your email responses are a great read, so I figured I’d give sending you a question a shot.
Two of my wife’s friends are looking for reliable, used cars. The parameters I’ve been given were $4,000 or less (as she will need to save a little for maintenance repairs I figure), a hatchback (preferably four-door), automatic, front- or all-wheel drive, and decent gas mileage. Her friend has lived around NYC most of her life, so although she has her driving license, she has rarely driven.
Now, I went about scrolling through all the makes and models that are listed on Autotrader and came up with this possible list:
After officially giving the Mazda2 its North America reveal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in January, Mazda Canada announced, nearly 10 months later, it will not sell the subcompact hatchback in the country.
“Following a thorough evaluation of the B-car segment, Mazda Canada has decided not to launch the new generation Mazda2 in Canada,” Mazda Canada said in a statement released Monday.
Instead, the company will focus on its CX lineup, including the CX-3, CX-5 and new, upcoming CX-9 to be revealed for the first time this week in Los Angeles.
We haven’t held back our critique of Toyota’s handling of its Scion sub-brand.
Though Scion held such promise a decade ago, replacing the hot-selling first-generation xB with a mostly ignored, overweight, second-generation xB was a ticket to failure. Allowing the once-popular tC to linger mostly unchanged and mostly unathletic for more than a decade is akin to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. A flash in the pan sports car, the FR-S, wasn’t – couldn’t be – the answer to the brand’s troubles.
Signs of life are once again appearing at Scion, however, and not from the most expected places.
When is a Scion not a Scion? Since Scion is division of Toyota, this is both a trick question and a serious one.
Scions can be anything from tweaked Toyotas and foreign market Toyotas to cars built by other manufacturers for Scion. The first such product was the collaboratively developed Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86. The second is this Mazda-designed and Mazda-built Scion iA.
The Mazda2 is another car whose absence in the US market will bring tears to the eyes of driving enthusiasts – and rightly so, because it’s a great little car. At the same time, it was probably the right call by Mazda not to import it to the States. This car can truly shine, but wide open American roads are not the right place for it, no matter how much canyon carving petrolheads would like them to be.
We don’t have the rights to run the spy photos of the Scion iA concept, but you can check them out here. The above rendering, from TopSpeed, is 99.9% accurate, for better or for worse. On the surface, it looks like an uglier version of the Mazda2 sedan, with the unfortunate catfish maw grafted on in place of the rather handsome Mazda front end treatment. The on paper sepcs aren’t exactly thrilling either.
The newly revised Mazda2 — Demio in its home market of Japan — won’t be in United States showrooms until sometime during the 2016 model year, but when it does arrive, it will be bringing along its first award: the 2014-2015 Car of the Year Japan, as presented by the Japan Car of the Year Committee.
Unlike the American motoring press, the Brits have never been as enthusiastic about Mazda. Even though countless journalists have extolled the virtues of the Mazda3, the Golf and Focus always seem to take the top spot in the C-segment evaluations. But the Mazda2 might be a…wait for it…game changer.
Toyota’s line of engine/body mashups continues, this time with their upcoming Mazda2-based subcompact powered by Mazda’s SkyActiv engine family.
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