British publication Autocar, citing an official presentation shown during a recent Mazda earnings call, claims Mazda will offer a rebadged version of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid – likely as a replacement for the Hiroshima-based brand's Mazda 2 city car – in Europe by 2023.
"[Mazda will offer an] OEM-supplied model based on Yaris THS [Toyota Hybrid System]", the presentation stated, as quoted by Autocar.
Mazda's mention of "OEM-supplied" suggests the Mazda-badged model would be built by Toyota alongside the Yaris at the brand's factory in Valenciennes, France. Our mock-up of what a Yaris-based Mazda 2 could look like is shown at the top of this story.
Offering a rebadged version of Toyota's popular Yaris Hybrid would help both Mazda lower its fleet-average CO2 emissions to meet strict 95g/km targets set by the European Union (EU), while also assisting Toyota, given both manufacturers have agreed to pool their range-wide CO2 emissions to make it easier to meet an EU-defined communal target.
While the Yaris Hybrid features a frugal 'self-charging' hybrid powertrain emitting just 76g/km of CO2, European-delivered Mazda 2s merely offer the option of a lower-voltage mild-hybrid system, which can only cut CO2 output to a less respectable 94-105g/km of CO2 – all figures according to the NEDC test cycle.
Toyota offers a similar model-sharing arrangement in Europe with Suzuki, which sells rebadged versions of Toyota's strong-selling plug-in hybrid RAV4 and hybrid-powered Corolla wagon as the Suzuki Across and Swace respectively.
It's also worth noting the inverse of the forthcoming Toyota-Mazda agreement currently occurs in the United States, where Toyota rebadges the current Mazda 2 hatch and sedan under the Yaris nameplate.
It's unlikely the Mazda-badged Yaris will ever make its way Down Under, given Australia's lagging emissions standards – which are based on 'Euro 5' regulations, introduced in 2009, and fall well behind Europe's decade-newer 'Euro 6d' standard.