Mazda2-based Subcompact Coming to U.s

By: Anthony Fontanelle

The Ford Motor Co. announced to its employees that it is developing a much-awaited new subcompact car for the United States and other markets. The subcompact will be based on the new Mazda2.

Mark Fields, Ford's President for the Americas, told employees about the new subcompact car during his weekly Webcast. Unlike its rivals in the industry, Ford does not produce a subcompact car for the U.S. market. However, after the obvious shift of the auto market to small and fuel-efficient cars, Ford realized the importance of such cars to both the survival and standing of the company.

Compacts and subcompact fuel-efficient cars like the Chevrolet Aveo, Toyota Yaris and the Honda Fit have eventually become crucial vehicles in the industry. These vehicles are especially designed to meet the desires of young generation drivers. Nowadays, young purchasers go for vehicles that could sustain their active and feisty lifestyle. There is growing number of young drivers hence automakers are considering the types of vehicles they prefer to acquire.

The young drivers market desires cool and hip cars that are also high-performing and fuel-efficient. The manufacture of the mentioned cars does not only require the integration of , powerful engines, catchy car accessories, sophisticated amenities, and enhanced auto parts - these parts accessories must especially cater to young drivers' needs and demands. Prices for the said cars are deemed volatile as of the present.

When asked about the internal announcement made by Fields, a Ford spokeswoman declined to comment. The news comes as Alan Mulally, the Ford CEO, visited Japan to meet with executives of the Mazda Motor Corp. The latter is controlled by Ford. "I fully expect the deep ties between Ford and Mazda to extend into the future and become even stronger," Mulally said in a news release.

It was earlier reported that Mazda is working on a new subcompact vehicle platform for the Mazda2. The said car is said to be the basis for the next-generation Ford subcompact in Europe. The new subcompact will be Ford's first subcompact sold in the United States since 1997.

The Mazda2 will be unveiled next week at the Geneva Motor Show. The car is based on the Demio which is a tall station wagon or small minivan which debuted in 1996. Analyst Jim Hall of AutoPacific Inc. in Southfield, who has seen the Mazda2, said it should provide a solid foundation for the Ford subcompact. "It's one of those small cars that looks more expensive than it probably it is," Hall said. "That's something you really want in small cars."

Hall added that the new model will be Ford's "global B-car," referring to the industry designation for such small, fuel-efficient vehicles. "It's the best strategy. Doing a global B-car is really smart, because it will be a low-volume car in the United States and you really need big volumes on a vehicle like this to keep costs down. In the U.S., price and fuel economy will be the predominant factors," adds Hall.

Fields also announced that work on the Ford version is already under way, with Ford of Europe taking the lead. He said the Blue Oval model will be sold in Europe, Asia, South America and North America, but stressed that the subcompact is not a "world car." Instead, the vehicle will be tailored to meet the unique needs of each market. While Fields gave no time frame for the car's arrival in U.S. showrooms, Hall predicted the subcompact will probably arrive in showrooms in two years.

A source familiar to the subcompact project said Ford intends to produce the car in, but said that may change. The company planned to expand one of its Mexican plants to accommodate the new model. However, it can no longer afford such a major expense so it is depending on Mazda engineering to boost its upcoming lineup.


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