Japan’s fifth largest car maker, Mazda Motor Corporation is planning to launch its small cars in India. According to Zigwheels, Takashi Yamanouchi, President and CEO, Mazda Motor Corporation said, “We have a bouquet of compact cars like the Mazda – 2 and sedans that are suited for the bulk of Indian customers who prefer small and fuel efficient vehicles.”

He added that Mazda is yet to finalize its strategy on whether they will have a joint venture or a fully owned subsidiary. He mentioned that the strategy will depend on the kind of Mazda cars that are feasible for the Indian market.

Mazda internationally sells the Mazda2, Mazda3 and Mazda6 in the small cars segment. The company sells the Mazda5, Tribute, CX-7 and CX-9 in the SUV/Crossover segment while MX-5 Miata, RX-8 and MazdaSpeed3 are models in its sports cars segment.

mazda2 photo

Photo: Mazda2

The third-generation Mazda2 is being sold in US markets since 2007 at$14, 180 (approx Rs. 6.29 lakh), in India the cost is expected to be higher. Mazda2 shares its platform with the Ford Fiesta hatchback (US specific model) and measures 3,899 mm in length, 1,699 mm in width and 1,478 mm in height. The wheelbase of the 930 kg, Mazda2 is 2,489 mm and it has a ground clearance of 150 mm.

In the U.S. market, Mazda offers the Mazda2 with three engine options that produce power ranging from 75 hp to 105 hp. The Mazda2’s 1.3 litre engine is a 1,349 cc, 4-cylinder petrol motor that produces 75 hp of maximum power at 6,000 rpm and 121 Nm of maximum torque at 3,500 rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed transmission.

mazda2 photo1

Photo: Mazda2

It accelerates from 0 – 100 km/hr in 14 seconds and its top speed is touted to be 168 km/hr. Mazda2 returns a mileage of 18.5 km/litre in a combined cycle that includes city and highway driving. On the safety front, Mazda2 is equipped with front airbags, ABS and EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution).

If launched in India, it will compete with the Maruti Swift, Volkswagen Polo, Hyundai i20, Nissan Micra, Fiat Punto and Tata Indica Vista.

Mazda was started in 1920 and was initially named as Toyo Cork Kogyo Company. The first Mazda car, named Mazda-Go, launched in 1931, was a 3-wheeled truck. In 1958, Mazda produced a 4-wheeled truck, dubbed the Mazda Romper. Passenger cars emerged from the factory during the 1960s. From 1973, Mazda forayed into North American car market and sold its Familia series, the Capella, RX7 and RX8 models.

In 1979, the Ford Motor Company acquired 27% stake in Mazda and in 1997, Ford acquired 39.9% of the company’s shares. Ford and Mazda share engine, design and vehicle platforms too. Some of the Ford models such as the Escape and Focus were based on Mazda’s models Tribute and Axela respectively.

Mazda had been a small player in India and Swaraj Mazda formed in 1983 by a joint venture between three firms, Punjab Tractors, Mazda Motor Corporation, Japan and Sumitomo Corporation, Japan is its only widely visible venture in India. Swaraj Mazda is now known as Swaraj Isuzu Limited and sells a wide range of passenger vans, trucks and buses. The company has more than 1.45 lakh vehicles running on Indian roads.

It would be interesting to see if Mazda joins hands with Ford India, which is currently the fourth largest car maker in the country.