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by Matt Campbell

The all-new 2015 Mazda 2 misses out on some safety items fitted as standard to rival cars, but the Japanese brand’s local arm says customers may not want to pay for them.

In no specification does the 2015 Mazda 2 come as standard with a reverse-view camera or front/rear parking sensors. Buyers must option those safety and convenience items in to their cars: rear sensors are $299; front sensors $599; reverse-view camera $778 for the Neo and Maxx (camera displays in the rear-view mirror), and $420 on the Genki model which has a tablet-style media system.

Other safety options include the Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) automated low-speed braking system (operating between 4 and 30km/h), which costs $400. The availability of this unit should allow the 2015 Mazda 2 to secure a five-star ANCAP crash test score.

Mazda Australia public relations manager Steve Maciver says the availability of the latter option pack gives the brand a unique offer in the market.

“It’s available on every model in the range, and it’s a $400 option on every single model.

“Within that segment, obviously price is a very sensitive factor at that end of the market,” he said. “We have built a car that has a whole host of active safety equipment – high and ultra-high tensile steel, so the body’s a lot stronger and safer.

“Certainly these technologies are coming in, but they always add cost to the car. So we’ve decided to make it an option available across the range, and that means customers can choose if they want that technology or not,” Maciver said.

2015 Mazda 2_19

Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak said the company follows a similar strategy with the larger 3 hatch and sedan, and that it has a history of offering extra safety items at additional cost to those who want it.

“We always used to offer safety packs and we used to be chuffed to get a five per cent take-up,” Doak said. “It has changed a little bit, and these things have become more affordable, too.

Indeed, the company is considering adding further safety options – including the full suite of i-Activsense systems such as radar cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot warning systems, which are available on the Mazda 3, Mazda 6 and CX-5.

Mazda says the safety pack option on the new 3 range is currently running at about 17 per cent take-up.

“It’s always a possibility,” Doak said. “Like I said, we have a best attempt at meeting the market here, but we’re always listening to customer feedback, your feedback, and if there’s something that we think is in demand [we will work on it].

“We can’t add nine million options – we’ve already taken a lot of ordering pain to make SCBS available across the range. But we’ll look at the sales numbers and customer feedback, and we might be able to come in with a safety pack, or limited edition run. We’ll keep those in mind, and we’ll listen to the market seriously,” Doak said.

MY2014 Mazda 3

Maciver said the realities of hitting pricing targets at this end of the market means buyers wanting everything would need to dig a little deeper.

“We try very hard, but we’ve got to be realistic about what the market can bear,” said Maciver. “I think we’ve always had a very strong history of introducing safety gear where we can. We can’t always make it standard fitment – we have to have commercial sensitivities about what customers are actually going to pay for.

“And again we find that when we do research, customers that are buying larger cars and SUVs, reversing cameras are further up the list. Fuel efficiency, pricing – at this end of the market – are much more important,” Maciver said.

Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders reiterated the idea of optional safety gear being a key part of the strategy behind the new 2.

“It’s a matter of where you put your money,” said Benders. “We put our money into fuel-efficient engines, a new benchmark in terms of steering and handling, and some things have to fall by the wayside, or in to an accessory column.”

The all-new Mazda 2 range goes on sale from November 1, with pricing starting at $14,990 for the entry-level Neo manual through to $21,990 for the top-spec Genki automatic.

Read our full pricing and specifications story, and stay tuned for our first Australian drive review of the new Mazda 2.