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Mazda2 Coming to NA

21st September 2009

Mazda announced that they will bring the subcompact 2 to the US and Canada in late 2010.  “As consumers’ tastes and attitudes toward small vehicles have changed, we now believe strongly there is a place in our lineup for a car below our current least-expensive car, the Mazda 3,” Jim O’Sullivan, Mazda North American Operations president, said in a statement.  Mazda didn’t say where the 2 will be produced, but as it shares a platform with the upcoming Ford Fiesta, will they make it in Cuautitlán, where the Fiesta will be produced beginning next year?  It sure seems to make sense.  Mazda gets local production for the North American market, saving logistics costs of shipping from Japan.  Ford gets another vehicle for its plant, which helps ensure that the plant will be at a high utilization rate, which reduces the risk of discounting.  Customers get better choices and better prices, and North American workers get more jobs.  Everybody wins, right?  Maybe not.  Ford recently divested most of its stake in Mazda, which might make them hesitant to help Mazda sell cars.  They should ignore that kind of thinking and worry about making money for themselves, which producing the 2 at Cuautitlán will do.  However, if I know how Ford thinks, and I do, they probably have overly optimistic volume projections for the Fiesta and think they can’t spare the capacity for the Mazda2.  They should reconsider this (if I’m right) based on:

  • their spotty record of forecasting their own sales
  • the fact that the Mazda2 will likely be sold in VERY small numbers, even compared to the Fiesta, and
  • the lack of any coherent energy policy in the US means that gas prices will likely continue to fluctuate wildly, leading to further volatility in the sales of fuel-efficient vehicles -so they should hedge with this car and the Fiat 500 for the Cuautitlán plant.
That’s what I think – how about you?
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