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New Mazda 2 goes lightweight

Date: 25 June 2007

Mazda 2

Mazda is hoping a prettier exterior housing a significantly lighter supermini will lead to a huge jump in volume for its new Mazda 2.

The new model, on sale in September, will see Mazda's share of the European supermini market grow from the current 1% to around 2.5% in 2009.

The company has managed an impressive weight reduction of 100kg, with "efficiency rather than features or power" being the key message, according to the car's chief programme engineer Shigeo Mizuno. More than half of the weight reduction is down to engineering changes, with lighter components across the car. That equates to impressive emissions figures, even for this class of small car.

Just over a third of the new 2's sales will be to the "traditional" fleet market, according to UK boss Rob Lindley. There will also be a portion of rental and courtesy car volume. "The high cost and low margin is not immediately attractive, but we'll have a go in those sectors," he told BusinessCar. "The new car's cost of production is lower so we've got that in hand."

Mazda fleet boss James Hopkins also said that he hoped the 2 would gain market share from the Honda Jazz in the NHS fleet arena.

The 2's platform will also form the underpinnings of the new Ford Fiesta, due next year, and Mazda is also promising "the highest rank" in the Euro NCAP occupant protection test, despite the weight reduction.

A three-door Mazda 2 will join the range next spring, along with a new diesel taken from parent company Ford's alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen.