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Will Mazda's new-gen 2 be a Toyota Yaris under the skin?

Mazda could have its first volume-selling hybrid if it uses the Toyota Yaris as a basis for its Mazda2.

Mazda and Toyota could be strengthening their partnership with the latter’s Yaris potentially stepping up to replace the former’s Mazda2, as speculated by an overseas report.

Autocar points to a Mazda financial results presentation that highlights further use of partnerships to expand its line-up, including an “OEM-supplied model based on the Yaris THS (Toyota Hybrid System)” for the European market to launch in the next 24 months.

As such, the next-generation Mazda2 could very well be a rebadged version of the recently-launched Toyota Yaris and give Mazda a petrol-electric hybrid model to cater to a growing customer base.

CarsGuide has contacted Mazda Australia for clarification and to determine if this could affect local cars, and is awaiting an official response.

This wouldn’t be the first time the Toyota and Mazda-badged light cars have swapped names though, as the US Yaris’ sold from 2016 were actually Mazda2s under the skin built in Mexico.

However, earlier this year, Toyota US announced it would be removing its ‘Yaris’ from showrooms due to slow sales, with Toyota Canada and Mexico following soon thereafter.

Losing three markets would make it harder for Mazda to justify a new-generation Mazda2, so the move to a Toyota Yaris-based version could help the brand save in development costs.

The current fourth-generation Mazda2 has been in production since 2014, with the most recent update landing in Australian showrooms in early 2020 that raised the point of entry by $5500 to $20,990 before on-road costs thanks to inclusion of more standard safety equipment.

Mazda aren’t the only ones forced to up pricing and equipment though, with the new Toyota Yaris that launched in August also jumping to $22,130 in base form.

In fact, some brands have withdrawn – or are preparing to withdraw – from the light-car segment altogether thanks to a growing consumer preference for SUVs, and the small margins found in cheap and cheerful models.

These include the Ford Fiesta (barring the performance-honed ST grade), Honda Jazz/City, Hyundai Accent and Renault Clio.

Tapping the Yaris to fill in for its next light car could also give Mazda a petrol-electric hybrid model, a powertrain that Toyota has proven to be a hit in Australia with its Corolla, Camry and runaway RAV4.

Mazda has lagged behind rivals in offering electric and hybrid powertrains, but a Mazda2-badged Toyota Yaris could be the spark to kick electrification for the brand.

Mazda Australia currently offers a 24-volt mild-hybrid set-up in its Mazda3 and CX-30 Skyactiv-X engines, while the all-electric MX-30 has long been mooted for the local market since its reveal at the 2019 Tokyo motor show.

A hybrid version of the MX-30 is also available in Japan with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, while Mazda’s famed rotary will also be revived under the new SUV nameplate to serve as a range extending hybrid – neither of which have been confirmed for Australia.