Mazda Motor Corporation global sales and marketing general manager Yasuhiro Aoyama told CarAdvice a sports variant of the all-new Mazda 2 could be introduced down the track to maintain interest in the model as it ages.
“One of the challenges we are currently considering is how to maintain the product competitiveness throughout the lifecycle,” Aoyama-san said.
“Once we introduce one model the competitiveness will gradually deteriorate… so we need to maintain the competitiveness of the vehicles.
“For some markets a sportier version would work. We are currently considering any kind of potential … and the sportier version is definitely one of the considerations.”
Mazda 2 deputy program manager vehicle development Kengo Fukushima struggled to contain his excitement at the suggestion of a higher-performance variant of his car.
“MPS? I want to have that! I am looking forward,” Fukushima-san said.
Asked whether a Mazda 2 MPS would be designed to rival ‘warm-hatches’ such as the Suzuki Swift Sport (100kW), Holden Barina RS and Hyundai Accent SR (both 103kW) or more serious hot-hatches like the Volkswagen Polo GTI (132kW) and the Ford Fiesta ST (134kW), Fukushima-san suggested the latter was the preference.
“I want to have [it] like a Fiesta [ST]. That’s what I want. As far as I know we want to be like that, but no plans yet.”
He admitted the standard Mazda 2’s chassis would require some tuning and reinforcement work to support a proper hot-hatch, but said such modifications were entirely possible.
“I believe we can do that.”
Question marks remain over what engine would power an MPS version of the new Mazda 2.
Aoyama-san said Mazda has not considered putting a larger-displacement engine in the 2, seemingly ruling out the 2.0-litre four-cylinder found in the Mazda 3 and other larger models.
The new-generation Mazda MX-5 has been widely tipped to feature a turbo petrol engine, though it’s unknown whether it will be a boosted version of the 1.5-litre engine or something else. The MX-5’s unveiling on September 4 may shed more light on this.
Aoyama-san said customers around the world continued to call for the return of Mazda’s MPS performance line, and while he admitted sports variants had the potential to be financially lucrative, insisted a decision had not been made at this stage.
“We still have similar types of requests [for MPS models] from many regions so it is still on our agenda, but we have to decide whether we will kill it or continue it.
“The sportier way should be one of the best ways for Mazda to pick up and continue to raise our revenue level. But a concrete activity? Not yet. We should have much more discussion about that.”
CarAdvice is currently in Japan for the international launch of the all-new Mazda 2, which goes on sale locally on November 1. Stay tuned for our review, coming soon. Read more about the new model here.