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Is the Mazda2 going electric? New Mazda EV architecture could save light hatchback from extinction

The current Mazda2 has been around since 2014 and is well overdue for a full new-gen replacement.

The future of the Mazda2 looks to be secured after all, despite reports of the light hatchback’s demise.

A next-generation Mazda2 could fall under Mazda’s next generation of electric models to be spawned off a new scalable EV architecture that could also generate a number of different body styles.

Mazda Motor Corporation director and senior managing executive officer, Yasuhiro Aoyama, provided hope that the Mazda2 would live on beyond the current third-generation model in an interview with CarsGuide at the CX-60 local premiere.

When asked whether the Mazda2 would live on in the future, Mr Aoyama said it was an important model for Mazda as it captures buyers early in their car-buying journey.

“There is a strong requirement to put Mazda2 as an entry level for the portfolio to capture the younger generation,” he said. “We think the entry model is important so it should continue. But how to continue that into the future under the environmental, EV shift, that we need to consider the barriers, the opportunities.”

Mr Aoyama highlighted the fact that different countries and markets have different requirements, based on emissions standards.

“For example, we are still continuing the ICE (internal combustion engine) Mazda2 in Australia and Japan and various countries, but for Europe, we have to give up Mazda2 and shift to OEM - Toyota Yaris. It depends on the country's conditions. How to … continue that important segment into the future,” he said.

The current Mazda2 was launched globally in mid-2014 and is still on sale in Australia, receiving a major overhaul in 2021. But considering the usual life cycle of small passenger cars, it’s well overdue for a replacement.

Given the lack of information and spy shots of a next-gen Mazda2, and the downturn in global light hatchback sales, it has been speculated that the current model could be the last.

As Mr Aoyama mentioned, the model was replaced by a rebadged Toyota Yaris hybrid in some markets like Europe to meet emissions regulations.

In relation to the future of Mazda2, Mr Aoyama added, “so, under the … EV scalable architecture, we need to reconsider”.

To meet emission regulations in Europe, the Mazda2 was replaced by a rebadged Toyota Yaris hybrid. To meet emission regulations in Europe, the Mazda2 was replaced by a rebadged Toyota Yaris hybrid.

Given Mazda’s recent announcement that it is targeting EV sales of 25-40 per cent by 2030, that opens the door for the next Mazda2 to be a battery-electric vehicle.

The new EV architecture is not likely to bear fruit until about 2025, so that means the current Mazda2 could soldier on for a few more years yet.

Mr Aoyama also suggested that, like its current Skyactiv ICE architecture that started life in 2011, the new architecture will be flexible, meaning it is likely to spawn more than just new SUV models.

“We are currently considering what should be the appropriate portfolio to be derived from this scalable architecture,” he said.

“They are currently under study in Mazda’s R&D to set up the appropriate portfolio. Of course, based on the EV architecture, we have much more variety and flexibility for top hats.”

Mr Aoyama said Mazda would consider each market’s requirements, but the company would create the appropriate portfolio based on Mazda’s common architecture strategy.

Top hats refer to different body styles and designs that sit on top of a chassis or architecture. That means the EV architecture could technically be used for SUVs, hatchbacks, sports cars and more.