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2015 Mazda 2 to spawn Mini Cooper rival | report

Mazda’s  Hazumi concept was met with universal praise when it appeared at the Geneva motor show in March, and our subsequent spy shots of the production Mazda2 have instilled confidence that a fair chunk of Hazumi magic will appear in showrooms in 2015.

Despite Hazumi’s premium appearance and detailing, Japan’s Holiday Auto magazine reports that the new model will also spawn a more upmarket, restyled version to rival the likes of Mini’s Cooper hatch, Citroen DS3 and the Audi A1

In addition to the upcoming Ford EcoSport-rivalling CX-3 SUV, an anonymous industry insider reportedly told the magazine:  “The new generation Demio (The 2’s nameplate in Japan) will also have another totally new car.”

Mazda has sold a Japan-only, more upright and upmarket version of the first-generation DY Mazda2 called the Verisa since 2004. The new 2-based model will likely form its replacement, and continue with the Verisa nameplate.

Such a model would also be similar in principal to the initial plan for the classic 1990 DB Mazda 121 ‘Bubble’ – an ancestor to what’s known today as the 2 – which was created for Mazda’s short-lived Autozam premium small car offshoot. The 121’s spec was scaled back when Japanese economic conditions changed in 1991, becoming a more mainstream offering in line with the positioning of today’s Mazda2.

The magazine also cites speculation from another unnamed news organisation from 2012 that suggested Mazda is working on a rival to the Cooper hatch and DS3, with the suggestion backed by another anonymous source: “it might be positioned as the Verisa’s successor in Japan… It’s a global car, so doesn’t simply follow the Verisa’s trail. It would rather be a small yet premium and fashionable compact car like Mini and DS3.”

The report also quotes an unnamed Japanese dealer: “a replacement car is ready. We haven’t been informed yet of the release timing, but it’s certain that the Verisa successor exists.”

Mazda’s European arm is reportedly handling the new model’s development, which could also result in a performance version for the hot hatch hungry European market.

“It is a luxury compact city car targeting also female users. In Japan, essentially it will be the Verisa’s successor, but slightly bigger than the current model and has no direct relationship. Furthermore, it is likely to add a hot version similar to Mini’s Cooper S, for which 2.2-litre SkyActive-D will be used,” according to another anonymous source.

A turbodiesel rival to the Cooper S would be unique in the hot hatch world, but follows persistent rumours of upcoming turbodiesel-powered successors to the previous Mazda3 and Mazda6 MPS models

Holiday Auto has created two speculative renderings of the new model, which eschew the existing Kodo details of the Hazumi, Mazda3, Mazda6, and CX-5 models, suggesting that the new model will feature the next evolution of Kodo like their recent 2015 MX-5 renderings.

The new Mazda2 offshoot will reportedly make its debut in concept form at the March 2015 Geneva motor show, with a production model appearing at the end of the first quarter of 2016.

This reporter is on Twitter: @Mal_Flynn